NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Chick and stick

Dynamics of birds make for fascinating viewing

In Summary

• Baby bird taught, 'If it is very hard and firm and does not squirm, it is not a worm'

Superb starling with chick & stick
Superb starling with chick & stick
Image: GARETH JONES

It was early on a fresh, crisp summer morning near the Kingfisher picnic sight when I had an interesting sighting. Ahead of me, a number of colourful birds flew. It was the beautiful shining feathers of a flock of superb starlings, which looked wonderful as the sun shone on them.

After stopping briefly to watch them, I was just about to start the vehicle engine when I noticed a superb starling landing with a dry stick in its beak. In a brief moment, a young chick appeared and moved quickly towards the adult bird.

The chick was no doubt very keen to have breakfast in the form of whatever edible meal was presented by the parent bird. However, with our human logic, it is often hard to imagine what kind of logic birds might have, but I did imagine for a moment that this was actually “chick stick lesson” #101. With this superb starling seemingly educating its chick, as if it was trying to say, "If it is very hard and firm and does not squirm, it is not a worm.”

It was also very amusing to watch the chick repeatedly try to take the stick from the adult bird. Hopefully, the chick did learn the “stick lesson”, and that sometimes grown-ups have more to do than just feed youngsters. Maybe the stick was eventually put to good use to help build a nest for future chicks?

I always find it a joy to see birds when driving in the park. God has created so much amazing diversity. While driving away, I reflected on our human lifestyles, in that perhaps, we could all learn a lesson from the “chick stick” example, as at times, we chase after dead and dry meaningless things, when we should rather be seeking the best of what life has to offer.