Birds of a Feather


Brown-gray mono-plumage fused in groups of precision squadrons come screeching in from the south. We admire these aviators for the symmetry of their flight, the precision of their landing. Their sameness seems a self-chosen conformity.

Humans see them through the lens of air show entertainment. We've had too many Blue Angel exhibitions. Birds, unlike our jet pilots, are genetically coerced.

Birds make it look effortless because, for them, it is. They fly by instinct - by the radar of the genes, not by the seat of their pants or wits. Only mutations can change the pattern; only dissonance, disruption, and disease cause deviations. What takes effort, for them, is to tolerate birds of another feather, from another path and plumage. For the feathered pilots true intelligence resides in inclusion, in breaking the dim-witted proverb of "birds of a feather flocking together," caring only for their own.

It is asking too much to see two dissimilar squadrons in mid air collision knock that racist principle out of both of them. Such a catastrophe would send the bird world into a colorful chaos. Choices would be pressed upon them. Do we wait until the genes take over and create rainbow birds of a same color? We could grow a soupy plumage that would satisfy all. One bright bird might come up with a strategy of invitation. Extend a wing wave of invitation to the strays, the confused and those who have lost their flock. Surely a colorful adjustments could be made to the tried and true flight path. A hint of colorful difference will remind us that all birds have feathers and can indeed flock together.

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