Darwin's Finches

“In regard to the wildness of birds towards man, there is no other way of accounting for it… many individuals… have been pursued and injured by man, but yet have not learned a salutary dread of him.” 
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle

Darwin's Finches
All right, fine, the first few finches
Couldn't have seen it coming.
They caught only dark shapes: 
Large, branch-winged birds lumbering,
Tipped with tufts of down.
Of course they were curious.
Of course they trusted the dark shapes
Were benevolent.

And you’re right: once
Those first birds had been grabbed,
Necks twisted, no,
They could not go back
To warn the others.

But the finches
Just kept coming, bird by trusting bird,
And the men kept killing them,
And the flock kept thinning.

You might think at some point
One bird might say to another,
You know, there’s something strange
About that beach—
Birds who go
Do not come back

And maybe
One bird did say this,
And maybe
The warned bird went anyway.

I guess I understand.

photo by flickr user vtluvbug79

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