Wednesday, October 21, 2009
When a strange, long beaked bird showed up at my window feeder, I thought a new species had touched town. Sparrows and House Finches were my regular customers. What bird was this?
I had a better look. He was a House finch with an overgrown lower beak. The top was tiny and misshapen. The bottom three inches long and stuck out like a sword.
I named him Big Beak. I suspect he'd damaged his upper bill long ago, so it wasn't big enough to provide the pressure to keep his lower beak trimmed. You'd think this would make it tough for him to eat. It didn't.
Anyone who maintains a feeder knows that the birds squabble over who gets to eat and who has to wait. Not Big Beak. All he'd do was brandish his pointy bill. Bullies backed off! He was free to eat all he wanted. He'd use his super-sized beak like a scoop to shovel up the cracked sunflower kernels.
I'm sure Big Beak didn't realize anything was wrong with him. He probably figured he was Alpha bird and that was that. If he thought like a human, he might obsess about how "stupid" his beak looked. How "everyone judged him" because of his beak. How his life was ruined because of his beak...