Bird Lessons

Yesterday’s spectacular weather – warm, but not hot, low humidity, and a blue sky with puffy clouds and brilliant sunshine – made it a perfect day to be outside.   So I took my lunch to the park and sat under a shade tree. 

It wasn’t until I was nearly finished, that I was joined by an unexpected guest.  Even though I’m not a messy eater, I did drop a few crumbs on the ground which were promptly snatched up by a sparrow.  Let’s call him Joey.  Now that may not sound so surprising, except the crumbs were potato chips – barbecue- flavored ones.   I didn’t know birds liked them.   

He quickly consumed what was there and then searched around for more.  When he didn’t find anything, he came and stood at my feet and cocked his head, looking at me with that “don’t you think I’m cute” look that made me empty the crumbs from the bottom of the chip bag on the ground.  I figured he had to eat, too.  It was lunch time after all. 

Another sparrow – we’ll call him Jack – quickly figured out what was going on and swooped in to partake of the feast.  Joey had no intention of sharing, which he made clear by hopping all around his food to prevent Jack from eating even the tiniest crumb.  

I dropped a couple of shreds of lettuce, but they weren’t interested.  Evidently neither of them was a healthy-eating enthusiast, preferring snack food to veggies.  

Since the potato chips were gone, I crumbled a bit of the bread from my sandwich and dropped it on the ground.  Then things got ugly.   Jack must have been really hungry because he moved in to claim his share.  But, Joey had no intention of sharing and quickly cut Jack off from the goodies.

I even threw some crumbs to Jack, thinking Joey was occupied with his own lunch and wouldn’t notice.   But Joey saw what was happening and made sure everything, down to the last crumb was going to be his.  No matter how hard Jack tried, he couldn’t get past his opponent and ultimately gave up and flew away. 

When Joey had finished what I had given him, he flew up to sit on the bench next to me and looked up at me with his “more, please” expression.   But lunch was over for both of us.

So it just goes to show —

The early bird may get the worm, but the one that shows up at lunch gets barbecue potato chips,


He who hesitates may be lost, but he also doesn’t get to eat. 

© Lynn Wyvill 2012

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