I was looking out the back windows of my home that overlook the
San Fernando Valley. It was a bright and sunny day--sunny enough
that my younger Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mystie’s tail was wagging
constantly. She loves sunny spots and
shadows and will watch them for hours.
This time, as I stared out the window, I saw a large bird’s shadow move across the branches and leaves of nearby trees, but I didn’t see the bird. The same thing happened again only a minute or so later. Same bird? Maybe, if it was flying in circles. It must have been flying over my house, with the sun shining at an angle that cast the shadow visibly, even though I never did see the actual bird.
I found the sight, and illusion, fascinating. I’ve also been watching some interesting interplay between birds out the same windows this week. There are two hawks, presumably a male and female, who perch on the tops of nearby power poles and tree branches, not together but sometimes facing one another. They appear calm and in charge and utterly uncompromising. This is important because, as they remain there so serenely, crows have been buzz-bombing them. The crows circle and zoom in, sometimes as a flock, sometimes individually, as if they’re insisting that the hawks leave, that this is their territory. The hawks ignore them as if they weren’t even there, let alone attacking them.
I’ve been studying the birds and their actions, wondering how I could incorporate them into a story. I’m not writing about birds, at least not currently, but I could certainly analogize their personalities and interactions into differences in humans.
The hawks are like people who know who they are and what they want. Who have goals (like finding the right rodent to sweep down on and eat?) and will let nothing stand in their way to achieving them.
The crows are... say, I just realized they’re like the media. Paparazzi! They’ll fly and flutter to divert attention, to get a story by creating their own. By attacking, at least figuratively when it comes to humans, those who are secure in themselves and who don’t want to be bothered.
Then there was the determined and diligent hummingbird I also saw yesterday taking its nectar from some flowers on a bush outside a local post office today. Hovering and intriguing, a hard worker but lovely and fun to watch.
Do you ever analogize the actions of other animals to those of humans? Heck, I do it all the time with my dogs... and now I’m doing it with birds, too!