Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 9, 2015 • 6:30 am

Inexorably, as both school and fall approach in tandem, the weather cools. Yesterday it rained all day, flooding many of the streets of Chicago. That is all, for we are in the Big Hiatus at the University between Labor Day and the beginning of October, when classes start. Meanwhile

Hili: Now everything is clear.
A: What do you mean?
Hili: This sparrow is an invasive species.

When I asked what this dialogue was supposed to mean, because I didn’t get it, Malgorzata gave me three interpretations:

Well, you are in a good company. I asked Andrzej and his answer was: “She is very territorial”.

Sarah’s [Malgorzata’s friend] idea was, “I think Hili is looking for an excuse to kill the sparrow, which she wants to do anyway, and so now she can do what she wants and be virtuous at the same time. As it is an invasive species and a pest, people should thank her for her deed and certainly not criticize it.”

I have no idea at all except that we have many more starlings than sparrows and Hili might think that starlings are her neighbours and a sparrow is an intruder. But I know it’s a feeble explanation.

P1030325In Polish:

Hili: Wszystko się wyjaśniło.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Ten wróbel to gatunek inwazyjny.


14 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Starlings are insufferably bold when they peck around in the middle of the street. If a car comes along, they just step to one side–JUST ENOUGH–to let the car go by. (Why waste energy flying off?)

    (Strangely enough, I’ve _never_ seen a starling that’s been run over. Has anyone?)

    Anyway, now it seems the robins on our block are picking up on the starlings’ trick, but they’re nowhere near as good at it yet.

    P.S.: Has anyone noticed if any indigenous predators have taken on starlings as prey?

    1. In the rural areas surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area in California, we have turkey vultures. I’ve observed them feasting on deer carcasses by the side of the road (presumably results of deer-car interactions) and they move before an oncoming car just enough to be certain of safety – not an inch more. They time their move to be not a second sooner than need be, too.

  2. House sparrows are not an invasive species in Europe, on the contrary, their populations are decreasing, especially in urban England. It is perhaps due in part to the decrease in the number of horses, since sparrows used to eat the undigested oats seeds in horse manure. We had a little song in french saying (more or less):

    Little sparrows
    who are eating horse shit
    little sparrows
    please don’t fly away
    little sparrows
    if you do fly away
    little sparrows
    the horseshit will stay here.

  3. On the up side the craw-fish craved fresh water! (Or just a cool pool.)

    Poor Hili, where are wings when you need them?

  4. Free associating…I know American Gray Squirrels are an invasive in the UK…what other American spp have been introduced to the Old World? Is the trade in insects and weeds pretty much two-way? How about organisms that travel in ship bilge water?

    1. Also, largemouth bass. I understand freshwater bass fishing (with expensive American bass boats) has been popular in parts of Japan.

      1. Ah, I’d forgotten to even consider fish.

        In fact, I’d been thinking more about unintentional introductions, such as our chestnut blight, dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, zebra mussel, etc. But the purposeful imports are just as alarming.

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