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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Thoughts on Purple Martin

 Purple martin is a beautiful little bird. Our residents have built a special kind of cage for them in the open field right in the middle of our village complex. Some of our residents had arranged for an event yesterday when a Naturalist tagged several chicks from Purple Martins living in this nest. There were nine newly hatched chicks. First, I was impressed with the gentleness with which the naturalist and his assistant handled the newly hatched birds. It reminded me of my days in the newborn nurseries when I examined newborn babies.

It is a good thing that an interest in learning and scientific curiosity have led to a love of nature and caring for these birds. When I watched the bird held extremely gently by the naturalist, I was full of respect for her. At the same time, I could not help thinking how scared those birds would be. The naturalist knew she was not going to hurt the bird. But how would the bird know?

I also could not help admiring the beauty of the bird, its color, and the feathers. I could also imagine that they were made of the same kind of matter I am made of. It has its own brain suited to its lifestyle. That brain has its own GPS so the bird can find its nest and its own kind of motor control so it can alight perfectly on the branch etc. Even more astonishing that the female of the species knows which one are her babies. She also knows intuitively her responsibility to find food for them. How does she know? For her, it is not accumulated knowledge. It is built into her brain. But how?

Does that purple martin know her own “I”? I think she does.

Wonder. Mystery. Beautiful. Humbling.

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