The starlings and I are coming to an arrangement.
They aren’t as annoying and I’m not hell bent on shooing them away.
I’ll be honest.
They’ve done nothing.
Except for one with the audacity to eat a peanut in plain view.
I was hooked.
Curiosity got the better of me.
Blue jays would have pinned the shell, poked a hole and flown off with the prize inside within a minute.
Apparently, the starling hadn’t read the manual.
For 5, maybe 10 minutes I watched the starling work at the peanut,
beak stretched to the limits by the large shell.
Head shake after head shake produced no results.
“Smash the peanut on the ground,” I urged him on through the window.
“Are you ever going to poke the shell?”
Even after dropping the shell once or twice, head shaking was the method of choice.
That’s going to be one hungry starling when this is done.
The shell popped out of his beak once again.
Only slightly smaller this time.
More head shakes.
A peck at the ground returned a nugget of white.
Head toss this time. No shake.
Beak closed. Nugget gone.
Well I’ll be damned.
The starling got the peanut after all.
The shear force of the starling’s beak clamping down snapped the peanut shell open.
Who needs pokes or smashing when you come with vice grips.
(Note to self: don’t put finger anywhere near a starling’s jaws of terror.)
I could feel my annoyance with starlings staring to slip away.
Curiosity chiseled out a crack for awe and respect to seep through.
If I found their jaws fascinating, could there be other things too?
And so, the slippery slope towards acceptance begins.
Not that I’m all the way there yet.
More like 7/8ths of the way beyond tolerance with acceptance fully within reach.
Is there a word for that space?
In between the “putting up with” of tolerance and the “not struggling against” of acceptance.
I don’t have to like them.
But I don’t have to not like them either.
Not liking takes a lot of effort to maintain.
Especially when they can do something cool.
And curiosity wants to discover what else there is to know.
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