European Starling (Photo by Philip Heron)
The Associated Press ran an article “North America’s Most Hated Bird Wreaks Havoc” one week ago. The reporter compared the European starling’s presence in North America to a Hitchcock movie, described it’s dropping as “corrosive and foul-smelling,” and called their swirling mumurations “intimidating statements.” It reported the starling’s nuisance qualities and never once said anything about the positive aspects of the bird, such as the species’ inherent worth, dignity, and beauty, the bird’s helpful impact on certain insect populations through foraging, and their song and language abilities. For me this seemed a case of biased reporting, if not just incomplete, and for my part, disheartening to see the word “hated” referring to any living being. To do so spreads disconnection and denial of responsibility, and leads to heart constriction instead of compassionate opening which we so desperately need to deal with the complex issues that confound we humans. What might you feel if the title ran, “World’s most hated religion wreaks havoc,” or “South American’s most hated indigenous culture population surges?” I know that life is difficult for our species and we make difficult decisions that harm other life to support our own, however, I long that we do so with awareness of the wondrous beauty all around us, in us, and flying above us. If we could do this, we might, just might, find a way to reduce our harm and see these mumurations as prayerful love language flung throughout the skies to make us ever more wise. May it be so.