Scene From the Balcony

I was standing on my balcony an hour or two ago, and I must say I am very fortunate in the time of quarantine to have a balcony. I was watching a group of pigeons. I don’t really think you can call five a flock. O.K., I was watching five pigeons. I noticed one who wasn’t very popular, sort of an outsider. Then one of the others just totally chased him (or her) off. It seemed like a power struggle between two males, so I’m assuming he. Then the bigger one went back to the group and started bullying everybody else away from the good scraps. They were right behind the garbage bins, always a good site.
Some scientists think that our human ancestors were scavengers, too, rather than the hunter gatherers we’ve romanticized them as. There’s some logic to that. Food is where you find it.
Well, while I was standing there musing on the unfairness of life in the world of pigeons, two magpies swooped in. There was a flurry of whirling feathers as one of them grabbed a pigeon, shook him or her around real good, and then all the pigeons ran off.
People are sort of like those pigeons. We may think we are magpies, but we are pigeons. We fight with each other over scraps, and we never expect what might suddenly appear in the air, to put us all in our place.

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