The Newark airport food court bird. Terminal C, to be precise.
I was purchasing a juice when I noticed a sparrow hopping around under the food court tables , weaving confidently among feet and luggage.
“Hey, there’s a bird in here!” I announced. “Oh yes, he comes here every day,” said the juice lady.
Right away I started to negotiate the awkward balance between trying to capture a picture of the bird by running around after it with my phone outstretched, and trying to not look like a crazy fool while I did it, since maybe not everyone could see the bird, or sympathize if they did. An airport is not the wisest place to be acting like a crazy fool.
I did not get a picture of the bird, although it swooped right past about two feet from me at knee height to investigate under the table of someone opening a burrito (good choice), and disappointed, hopped right across the concourse to another sandwich eater, effortlessly avoiding the steady crowd of walking people.
I am in wonder of small individuals like this that completely and totally adapt to the artificial environments that our species creates, and learn so much about our behaviour in order to thrive. A five-year-old of our species could not negotiate a crowd of cross traffic so well, nor perceive so quickly who in the room was opening a package of food, as opposed to a beverage, or sitting without eating.
But this sparrow, at some point, “decided” airport=awesome. No predators, unlimited food, just a few idiosyncratic human patterns to get used to. Through observation, a piece of cake. Speaking of which, that wrapper sounds like the ones muffins come in…