It was a cool evening in September as a group of Downy Woodpeckers gathered to hear the latest migratory recommendations from the WHO - the Winged Health Organization. Dr. Anthony Fowli, a white-tailed Grey Goose, head of the WHO, appeared on the television screen to make his announcement:
“The Human Virus 19 has infected over 3 million birds across the world claiming over 500,000 lives to this point. The elderly birds aged 5 years and older continue to be the most at risk, particularly those with underlying health conditions such as salmonella, trichomaniasis, aspergillosis and avian pox. The Virus is also adversely affecting birds of color: Black Crows, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Brown Pelicans and Black Vultures. We continue to recommend the following safety measures: do not feed on the carcases of decomposing animals from unsanctioned vendors, do not gather with birds outside your immediate nests whenever possible, maintain a 6 wingspan distance from other birds when flying, and remain in your nests except for essential travel.
“We are also moving migratory dates up two weeks early to the second week of October this year. The burning wildfires on the West Coast, the increasing Tropical Storms in the Southeast, continued Climate Change and the Human Virus are all factors in our decision to move up the migratory timeline.”
“Oh here we go again with the Climate Change hoax!” exclaimed Bob, his beakful of worms and bark spewing as he ranted.
“Sweetheart, don’t start,” pleaded his wife Shelly, turning off the television.
“Hoax? You’re kidding, right?” asked their friend James.
“Just let it go, James,” begged his wife Amy.
“You know there’s no such thing as Climate Change. It’s all political,” claimed Bob.
“No such thing?” refuted James. “It’s agreed on by the entire Avian Scientific Community.”
“Oh yeah? Then why does Bald Eagle President Trumple disagree?” asserted Bob.
“Don’t even get me started on that Bald liar,” said an aggravated James.
“Liar? Tell me one thing he’s lied about?” challenged Bob.
“You don’t have to do this,” Shelly continued to plead.
“Yes, can’t we just enjoy our worms and seeds?” agreed Amy.
“No, no, no. This’ll be fun. What has our President Trumple lied about?” continued James. “He said that testing in the United States for the Human Virus is better than anywhere in the world. That is false even on a per capita measure. He said he has made our economy stronger than it has ever been before, but unemployment was consistently lower under President Blue Bird Obanda.”
“Unemployment? The unemployment is a direct result of this pandemic. You’re going to blame that on President Trumple?” Bob shot back.
“Actually, yes,” argued James. “We don’t have enough tests, we don’t have universal access to safe nest-building materials, we don’t have contact-tracing in place, and he took forever to ban migrations from Chinese Monals, Grouses, and those dirty Bamboo Partridges.”
“Again with the Bamboo Partridges,” moaned Bob in disbelief. “There aren’t even any Bamboo Partridges in the United States. Why would you ban something that doesn’t even exist?”
“Speaking of things that don’t exist,” continued James. “I notice your President Trumple hasn’t denounced support from the birdist Eagles who have been oppressing Crows and Ravens and touting their Eagle-Supreme agendas.”
“Get real, James. He’s denounced them plenty of times. Just like he’s denouncing the early migratory agenda from the WHO.”
“Why?” inquired James “Why would he go against the scientific recommendations for an early migration?”
“It doesn’t strike you as odd that they moved up the migration to happen at the same time voting is supposed to happen?” reasoned Bob. “They want you migrating when there’s a crucial election. Typical Left Wing tactics to keep Right Birds from voting.”
“You’re out of your little bird brain, Bob.”
“Fine, you go ahead and migrate early, James. Typical Left Wing sheep following everything you hear on television.”
“Everything I hear on television? And where did you hear that the migration was a political stunt intended to keep the Right from voting, Bob?”
“President Trumple tweeted it out himself, James. And he knew birds like you were going to try to pull something like this. That’s why he even talked about it this morning from the Oval Nest.”
“And you listen to him?” asked James.
“Of course I do,” confirmed Bob.
“But listening to the scientists makes people like sheep?” asked James.
“Because you don’t even question them,” reasoned Bob. “You just follow them blindly.”
“I see. And you research the things that the President says, right?”
“I don’t have to. That’s not my job, that’s the job of the media,” asserted Bob.
“But the media does fact-check him and he’s lied hundreds and hundreds of times. There’s tons of factual evidence to prove he’s lied more than any other Bird holding that Office in history.”
“And of course you believe the media who has always had it in for President Trumple,” retorted Bob.
“So trusting the media makes birds a bunch of mindless followers, but any bird who blindly listens to Trumple, those birds are well-informed?” countered James.
“Look, the media can’t be trusted. Everyone knows that. And why do we migrate at all? No one seems to have a good answer for that one, James. It’s just what we’re all supposed to do every year. What a colossal waste of time. We already have a good nest here. The trees are fine, the bugs are plentiful. So what? It gets a little colder? So we have to move? I don’t buy that.”
“Once again, the reason we migrate is because the trees can’t sustain us in the colder months and the bugs disappear, Bob. Science has decades and decades of proven, consistent data to support it.”
“All lies and propaganda, James. Nothing but political garbage to keep us afraid and under their control.”
“Didn’t President Trumple say he was going to end migration? His first term is almost up and we’re still migrating south every year,” James thought he had Bob with that one.
“He’s tried, but keeps getting blocked by liberal Hawks and Vultures who oppose any ideas he puts forward,” countered Bob readily.
“So are you not going to migrate this year, Bob?”
“Of course we’re going to migrate,” Shelly chimed back into the conversation.
“I mean, it is a mandate afterall,” reasoned Amy, hoping that would show everyone was in it together.
“An illegal mandate infringing on our rights of nature,” argued Bob.
“Oh just give it a rest already, Bob,” his wife Shelly said, wanting the argument to end.
“Are we going to stop in Napa like we do every year?” asked James.
“Not sure it’s going to be safe with all the fires,” conceded Bob.
“We could stop early in Portland,” suggested James.
“Nah, too many birds out there rioting and looting birds’ nests,” returned Bob.
“You do know most of them are just protesting after years and years of unfair treatment,” James stated.
“Oh here we go again,” complained Shelly.
“They’re a bunch of anarchists. Crows and Ravens tearing everything apart,” chided Bob.
“So, what, you want President Trumple to keep sending in his Federal Falcons to incite more violence?” asked James.
“Incite the violence?” exclaimed an offended Bob. “They’re the only ones doing anything about it.”
“Okay,” interceded Amy. “If we’re not stopping in Napa or Portland, where should we stop then? I think we can all agree anything along the coast is out.”
“How about Tahoe?” suggested Shelly.
“Tahoe’s nice,” agreed Amy.
“I could do Tahoe,” said James. “Bob?”
“Sure, Tahoe sounds good. No fires there, no protests, low Human Virus cases there,” Bob reasoned out loud.
“Tahoe it is,” confirmed James.
“You two watching the debate tonight?” asked Shelly cautiously.
“Are you kidding? The game is on,” said Bob.
“Oh that’s right. The first game of the season,” said James. “I was worried they weren’t going to let them play with everything going on.”
“We need the distraction. A little sense of normalcy,” said Bob. “I just hope they don’t muck it up with a bunch of political propaganda.”
“Who’s playing?” asked Shelly, trying to keep another argument from erupting.
“The Jays and the Magpies, the oldest rivalry in the sport,” reported Bob.
“What do you think of the new coach for the Jays?” asked James.
“It’s about time they got rid of that last bird. He couldn’t tell a chestnut from an acorn in the opening gathering round,” said Bob. “James, you and Amy staying for dinner and the game?”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” confirmed James.
Amy and Shelly made their way down the tree to gather dinner for the boys. The game played and Bob and James cheered for the Jays, forgetting for a moment about the upcoming migration and election and all the troubles that were disturbing their normal lives. For one more night, the Woodpeckers ate and laughed together without worrying about the Human Virus and politics.
A week later, they began their migration south for the winter, leaving earlier than some others in the hopes of avoiding traffic in the air and getting their first choice of trees along the way. Unfortunately, when other birds joined in their flight, the arguing and bickering began between staunch supporters of the current Bald Eagle President and his opponent, between migrating early and migrating at the normal time or even migrating at all, between the media and science. More birds than usual were lost during the long journey, a statistic that would be hotly debated. The fighting continued once they reached their destination.
“Sometimes I just wish,” started James.
“Wish what, James?” asked a typically heated Bob.
“I just wish us birds could treat each other with respect and civility like the humans down there do,” commented James.
All the birds stopped and looked down at the humans below. They were all wearing face coverings, arguing about the same things that divided the birds in the trees. As the Woodpeckers stopped their arguing to peck at the barks of their trees, a couple humans heard the familiar knocking sounds and looked up to observe nature in action.
“Don’t you sometimes wish,” started one of the humans.
“Wish what?” asked another human standing nearby.
“That we could be as carefree and cordial as the birds in the trees instead of having to put up with all our garbage?” the first human finished his thought.
“If only we were so lucky,” agreed the second, his head tilted back to watch the Woodpeckers, making sure he was standing a safe six feet from the first.