Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Campus birds

Recently, many ravens have been circling over the building where I attend most of my classes, and calling from high perches.

Last spring, some ravens were hanging out near the dining halls and would often share students' food, though I haven't encountered them since.

Just like grad students, birds never pass up free food.

Even if it's currently on someone else's plate. The owner of this meal had to keep shooing the cowbirds away:

Cowbirds are brood parasites, and hence they have come up in several lectures and discussions I've attended about issues of language innateness and "nature vs. nurture." (The academics who mentioned these birds weren't aware, I found, that real live ones could be seen right on campus.) The term "parasite," incidentally, comes from a Greek word meaning "one who eats at another's table" or "one who plays the flatterer and buffoon, with a view to getting invited to dinner.

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