Sunday, January 4, 2009

Family Values

Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Excuse me, Mr. Titmouse (or is it Ms. Titmouse? I just can't tell!), but we chickadees have darned exemplary family values, thank you very much. The reason we send our children off into different winter flocks is because, to survive a long winter in the far north where you wimpy titmice couldn't last a day, we have to be able to store a lot of memories of where our food caches are. The trick is, we're so tiny that our brains don't have enough space to store all our memories over our lifetimes. So our brains delete obsolete memories every fall in order to make room for the new memories. You wouldn't understand, being as how you'd never find a Tufted Titmouse in places like Fairbanks, where it was MINUS 41 degrees yesterday. We send our children off so they can learn all the important stuff a young chickadee needs to know without having to waste valuable brain space keeping track of who their parents and each of their 7 or so siblings are, so they can get a fresh start in the spring and never need to worry about accidentally falling in love with their brothers or sisters.

And what's with being so judgmental? We chickadees don't make fun of the many kinds of "family values" we see in our mixed flocks. You'd think you were RIck Warren or something!

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