The Pecking Order

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The Pecking Order

Ringneck parrots were the first on the scene at feeding time.

You may notice the ‘parable’ nature of this brief tale about a pecking order!

Either Jo or I like to put some seed on a table on our deck every day for the local birds to snack on, and recently we were fortunate enough to witness this chain of events one fine day.

First there was a pair of the beautiful Port Lincoln parrots (AKA ringnecks) who landed on the table and began to munch loudly. This was observed by a galah (AKA pink and grey cockatoo or rose-breasted cockatoo), who dominantly swooped down and scared away the parrots by puffing out his chest and extending his head feathers to appear bigger and stronger. He was soon joined by his mate, and they munched away together.

A pink & grey galah

A pair of Galahs

The parrot went under the table

One of the parrots astutely landed on the ground below the table and began snacking on any crumbs or seeds that fell from the table. Meanwhile, two local pigeons (AKA possibly rock doves – anyone know?) had been watching this scene, so they cautiously landed on the handrail, and slowly crept along it, edging ever closer to the table, but being very respectful to the more aggressive pink and greys.

Suddenly, an Aussie magpie swooped in like a mafia hitman and landed on the handrail next to the table. The two pink and greys were immediately uneasy. The male raised his head feathers half-heartedly, but the magpie said, “Really?” So, they scarpered.

Two timid pigeons snuck up in the background

A Magpie startled the Galahs

The Magpie asserted his authority

For Mr Magpie, the pickings were not really to his taste. He had a quick nibble, as if it had all really been about showing who was boss, then he flew away.

Seeing their chance, the pigeons hopped forwards and jumped onto the table. Just as they thought it was all theirs, the parrot came back up from the ground and also landed on the table. One pigeon was startled and left but the other stayed and stood his ground. After a quick chat, they decided that sharing was the best possible option. So, the scared pigeon returned, and all three birds chomped away happily together.

The Magpie ate and flew away

The Parrot and the Pigeon worked out a deal

The Parrot and the Pigeons shared the food


The lessons in the story…

Every bird was able to eat something, though there was definitely a pecking order and a lot of posturing and egotistical showmanship.

Those at the bottom of the hierarchy accepted their lowly status and did as they were told, and probably muttered away about ‘those greedy bastards’ who think they’re the bee’s knees.

There was also that moment when the pigeon stood up for himself and refused to yield. The parrot acknowledged and respected his unwillingness to be bossed about, and so they reached a compromise. Everyone got a piece of the action, in accordance with what they believed they deserved.

Hmmm. Have you ever seen humans behave like this I wonder?!!!

Tony Inman

Tony Inman is an author of several books, mostly in the self-help arena. An entrepreneur with over 40 years of leadership & management experience in numerous companies in Europe and Australia, Tony has founded many of his own businesses in several fields, employing hundreds of staff and generating millions of dollars. He has worked with thousands of people, including many small business owners all over the world to develop and implement strategies for effective change and the achievement of their unique definition of success.

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