I was listening to a radio program that started with a mystery and travelled down a fascinating Sherlockian rabbit hole. Come on in, and let’s journey together.
I couldn’t retain the details sufficiently, so I Googled the keywords and found the original eight-page scientific abstract.
Off we go.
Some researchers in the USA were banding birds. I mean many birds. They noticed that the tail feathers of some of the cedar waxwings had a slightly different hue from the standard yellow. Reddish orange, we’ll call it.
This is too good a mystery, they thought. They had to pull the proverbial thread and see where it led.
Believe it or not, their initial search led to other scientists who had been studying the molecular pigmentation in feathers. Who knew!
We arrive at the findings by jumping ahead and missing all the lab work and hypothesis development.
The food supply, particularly for younger birds, had changed. They were eating a different kind of berry. This slight colour change implies a new food source or a change in food choice by the adults.
So, we can all relax now and enjoy nature’s increased visual thrills all around us. One colour scheme over another was not right or wrong. It just is what it is. We are accepting.
I reflected on this insignificant learning compared to the significant issues of our day. I thought about the mystery that strangers hold for us. Who are they? Why do they talk so loud? They talk so quickly. They talk so slowly. They speak with their hands so much. How can they eat that food? And on it goes.
Just as our curiosity about nature led us to understand why a small part of the world unfolded the way it did, we can learn about our fellow human passengers on planet earth. We can start by being open to the differences. Innocent opportunities in their environment can cause differences in bird feathers.
Equally innocent opportunities can cause differences in humans. Strangely, we have a robust coffee culture in North America. We make it at home. We often invite folks for ‘coffee’ when they drink tea, yet no offence is taken. And here is the kicker – North America doesn’t grow coffee!
And you thought changing bird feathers was an odd thing to see happen.
Please give this a bit of a think. The next time you see a person presenting differently from you, pause your thoughts for a moment. The differences could be skin pigmentation, hairstyle, clothing colour, footwear, or items they hold in their hands. It could be their behaviour; loud, walking on the ‘wrong’ side of the sidewalk or aisle, or speaking their language while talking on the phone.
Try going down your rabbit hole to understand why they are who they are. Maybe, just maybe, they are just who they are, and we can accept our differences. They can enrich our world, just as the cedar waxwing bird enriches our lives.
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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