2004. Although Otis could not understand what they were saying, the subject of the argument was business and economics. The question of the state of the economy, problems of unemployment, the price of grain and cereals as a rule hardly ever came up in bird conversation. If you see four of five sparrows having a chat in the yard as they peck around here and there, you will hardly ever hear them talking about stock prices or the cost of gasoline.
Almost always they talk about the weather, that is their favorite
subject. After that they like to discuss the berry harvest and the state
of the fruit at any one time of year. Talk of blueberries often
will lead to talk of famous harvests of the past, and certain years that
are considered high points in bird history, as far as berry harvests
subject of harvests sometimes leads the old timers to recall periods of
drought and famine, but talk of disasters is very discouraged in the
bird community, and heard most often among the old when they get
together on a banister by themselves. Only the crows indulge a morbid
sensibility, cawing at length about the year of our Lord 1220 when it
did not rain for 97 days on end. The crow population dwindled from 46
million down to 46, and those 46 were very unhappy birds.
But crows are a culture to themselves, and they will hardly ever put a
caw in when they hear bluejays or sparrows talking about their favorite
foods. Crows will sometimes talk to the pigeons, but although they seem
to get along, it is an illusion. A crow may perhaps put in his two cents
when four or five pigeons are conducting a criticism of a piece of
statuary, but the pigeons know for a fact that no crow is really interested in
the aesthetics of sculpture.