Gregorio in Action

Gregorio, October 1, 2011

Gregorio is back in fine form, and I managed to take a short video of him this morning as he was singing in the environs of the dining room. He’s more than a little self-conscious, however. Even though the camera is small, the birds still detect the attention being paid to them and depending on the species and the level of domestication, they tolerate the attention to a certain degree. For instance, the spice finches are most sensitive to my attention and they scatter almost immediately.

There’s this phenomenon of having the feeling that someone is staring at the back of your head, and it makes you turn around to see who’s watching you. I think birds have this sense to the nth degree. They have developed and nurtured this awareness over the millennia, the reason being that their survival depends on it. Rupert Sheldrake has written about the feeling, and says photographers have said they suspect animals they photograph in the wild are aware of their attention. My experience behind the lens concurs, but I think these photographers are talking about taking pictures from behind a blind.

I connect with my birds telepathically because I know them intimately, but I also think a similar aura occurs now and then with strange birds in the wild. When I am able to cross the threshold between the bird’s caution and avoidance of my attention to the bird’s curiosity about my interest in it, then a different type of communication occurs. But at the outset, even my indoor crowd, as well as they know me, respond with suspicion when I single out any one of them: it’s ingrained in their makeup. Often one bird’s alert response is enough to make all the birds nervous. These feelings are also ingrained, if to a lesser degree, in our makeup too.

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