Posts Tagged ‘lesser goldfinches’

One of the lesser goldfinches Maggie and I saw on our morning walk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them.” — Judith Henderson

 Travels With Maggie

 Some days I wake up eager to write on a topic that burned itself into my brain as I slept, usually because the subject was on my mind before I went to bed. I consider these good days.

 On others, I wake brain-dead, wondering what in the heck I’m going to write about. This morning was one of these.

 Some days, Maggie sleeps in until 10 a.m. Others, like this morning, she wakes up early and immediately demands that I take her for a walk. Yes. I know. My children already have informed me that my canine companion bosses me around.

 But I welcomed her demands this morning, knowing that walks fertilize my brain. The birds clinging to a thistle finch bag feeder we passed did the rest.

I jumped to the conclusion that they were American goldfinches, which are extremely common all across the country. A closer inspection of the birds through binoculars, however, and I discovered my mistake. I was looking at lesser goldfinches, whose range rarely extends farther east than my current location in Central Texas.

An American goldfinch -- Photo by Pat Bean

 The adult males of both species are brilliant yellow and black (females are duller and in the case of the lesser more green than yellow), but the lesser has a black head and back, while the American only wears a black cap and has black wings that contrast with a yellow back. Both species are beautiful birds.

 And that got me thinking about the assumptions people make when confronted with differences in general. I suspect that erroneous assumptions, like my confusion as to which goldfinch I was seeing, are way too common. And just like my goldfinches, most of our assumptions usually have nothing to do with right or wrong.

One kind of beauty, one color of skin or one way of thinking may be no better or no worse than another kind of beauty, a different color of skin or a second, third or fourth way of thinking.

I suspect the world could do with fewer assumptions and more appreciation of differences. What do you think?

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