I have an overly romanticized view of myself.
This view often allows me to justify the fact that I don’t have children. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have to justify it but sometimes (for about 10 minutes) when I feel sad that I don’t have tiny minds to mold in my home or I get that nagging feeling that I have somehow failed the requirements of evolution (thanks so much societal pressures) I find happiness in the thought that I consider myself to be a sentry bird and that I am helping evolution along in my own way.
What is a sentry bird you ask?
Sentry birds are the birds in the flock that fly out ahead and sing a watchman’s song to alert the other birds whether or not there are predators or other danger or whether there is adequate food for foraging.
Sort of a romanticized version of what a vocal skeptic, a social activist or an artist with a message would do. No?
From a 2008 study on Pied Babblers via Science Daily.
Researchers from the University of Bristol, led by BBSRC David Phillips Fellow Dr Andy Radford, have demonstrated that by giving the distinctive ‘watchman’s song’, individuals scanning for danger as sentinels ensure that their group-mates can focus on foraging, and so capture more food. Dr Radford said: “These exciting results point to a great example of true cooperation. The unselfish behaviour of the sentry is probably rewarded down the line by the improved survival of group mates, which leads to a larger group size. This increases the sentinel’s chances of survival when the group is under attack from predators or having to repel rivals from their territory. It’s a win-win scenario!”
By “singing a watchman’s tune” or in other words, by speaking out about things that are wrong like sexism, or things that are dangerous like certain alt-med products, or things that are a waste of money like psychics and homeopathy we are (hopefully) helping to increase the survivability of our group.
Yes, yes I know, people and birds are very different but this chick likes to think of herself as a soldier for a greater good.
What do you say? Are we making the world a better place by continually speaking out? Is it easier to forage when I sing Slayer songs or Frank Sinatra? *Do you ever compare yourself to birds or mammals and if so what do you like to think of yourself as?
*Yeah, see skeptics can also have that rather enjoyable “spirit animal” conversation that Sara and Mike down at Whole Foods likes to have. We are just smart enough to know that it is just a comparison and that the vision of three white birds doesn’t mean that we can fly or that great Aunt Betty says hello.