A loud bump at the other end of the house woke us about dawn yesterday morning. Both Michele and Precious Mae sat up and looked around, but that’s all it was, one loud bump. And then silence. We all went back to sleep.
When we did get up, at first, there was no sign of what could have made the noise. I would say, Here is a book that fell over, and Michele would say, No, I put it there. The whole loud bump thing was soon forgotten, that is until Michele found a Band-tailed Pigeon – Columba fasciata – dead, under a chair out on the deck. As an aside, the name columbarium – a place to store cremains, the cremated remains of humans – comes from the Latin for dove, columba, and originally referred to the compartmentalized nests for doves and pigeons. End aside. This poor dear had apparently flown into a window and killed her/his self.
We have a bird feeder out in the garden and I mistakenly bought Wild Bird Seed rather than Patio Mix and that has resulted in the birds at the feeder sorting through the seed and throwing the seed they don’t like on the ground (I guess, technically, they sort through and let the seed fall to the ground). Either way, this has brought more ground feeders into the area and that includes the Pigeons. Unlike their city cousins, feral pigeons – Columba livia domestica – the Band-tailed Pigeons are very shy. The slightest movement sends them flying and this poor animal flew the wrong way.
All the Pigeons didn’t fly into the window, just this one, and that is vitally important.
Courtney Gonzales and I were talking about the desirability of embracing differences in people. In thinking about the Pigeon, it seems to me that embracing difference is not just desirable in itself but vital to any group prospering. Monocultures don’t do well in a changing world, they probably wouldn’t do well in a static world either, but – since the world is never static – we don’t know that for sure. As an aside, diversity is the most basic success story in the living world, it is engine that drives evolution and, to get diversity, we have sex. At the most basic level, if we reproduced by splitting into clones of ourselves, there would be no diversity and there would be no evolution (and we would all still be proto-amoebas). End aside. Societies that are monocultural, that are pure, are not as strong as societies that are diverse.
Our diversity is what makes the United States is so powerful and it is why the most diverse parts of the United States are the most prosperous. Silicon Valley is so successful because it is so racially diverse (and I suspect it would be even more successful if it were more behavior and gender diverse). People who want to have everybody the same as themselves are really trying to make an environment that is a setup for stagnation and failure.
It is nice to remember that.