Nature bright with gladness2 Nov 2015
We took those photos back in June. I forgot all about them until we synced the camera to the computer last evening. They reminded me of the following paragraph in the Origin of Species:
We behold the face of nature bright with gladness, we often see superabundance of food; we do not see, or we forget, that the birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects or seeds, and are thus constantly destroying life; or we forget how largely these songsters, or their eggs, or their nestlings, are destroyed by birds and beasts of prey; Charles Darwin, page 78 in The Origin of Species, 6th ed., P. F. Collier & Son, New York, 1909.
By "we" Darwin refers to us, humans, who through the devices of civilization have mostly managed to escape food shortage.
I first encountered this paragraph in Stephen Jay Gould's Dinosaur in a Haystack; in the final essay of that book, titled "Four metaphors in three generations". Reading that essay is what finally compelled me to go and read the grand old bearded one, after it had been on my TODO list for far too long.
We could clearly see the squirrel eating something inside the bird's nest. Were those the eggs? In that case, where was the nesting female? Perhaps it was chased away, and the attacking bird was the male coming back to the nest to find it had been violated by the trespassing squirrel. Or was the squirrel eating some previously cached food, and the birds just happened to build their nest in its food cache?
(Photos by Cristian Seres. Copyright © 2015 Cristian Seres. Released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v4.0 license.)