Starlings Are Black Cardinals

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Like a mother hen,
I fuss over
and am protective of
the birds
frequenting our feeders.

In the fall,
I monitor the nectar
to assure a steady supply
for the hummingbirds.
If a regular hummer
is absent for a few days,
I worry something has
happened to it.

I chastise the squirrels
when they empty
the peanut butter log,
for they are depriving
the nuthatches and
woodpeckers.

When sparrows swarm
the sunflower hearts
feeder and wipe it out,
I fret about the hungry
goldfinches.

Of course, in reality,
birds forage for food
quite effectively
on their own.
They won’t starve
if the feeders run dry.

I must admit my concern
doesn’t extend equally
to all birds.
I have my “A” list:
woodpeckers, goldfinches,
nuthatches, cardinals,
hummingbirds and chickadees.

If a bird flies into a window
or is devoured by a hawk,
I hope it’s a starling, sparrow,
dove or grackle,
not one of my ‘favorites’.

Unfortunately,
it’s not such a big leap
to apply similar
judgmental thinking
to human beings.

If a sixteen-year-old
drives her car at high speed
into a light post and dies,
we are devastated.

When a homeless man
freezes to death
sleeping under a bridge
in the winter,
there is sadness, but
not necessarily the same
gut-wrenching pain.

We all could do a better job
of treating starlings
like cardinals
and
caring about
our fellow man.