Same Herd, Different Field

If I was a naturalist I’d probably be able to explain why I see this particular herd of deer at around this time of year. As it is, I’m just guessing if I say I imagine it’s because of the lack of natural cover at present – we’ve had the winter die-back but there’s no new growth yet.

Deer in a field

Same herd, different field

This herd, 2013.
And this herd, 2012.

Crows are known for their bravery / aggression / stupidity – they’ll have a go at birds far bigger than they are. It’s not uncommon to see large Red Kites going about its way, only for a Crow to take off from a nearby tree and have a go at it. Normally, the Kite will just keep on going about its business but if a Crow gets too chippy the Kite will strike out – a mid-air lunge with talons out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them actually hit each other though; it seems to be posturing.

Today’s variation on that theme saw a Red Kite occupying the uppermost perch on a large old tree near Binfield Heath, a Crow coming in hard to try and dislodge him, the Kite, with much flapping of wing, holding his spot and the Crow settling for playing second fiddle – settling on a branch just a little bit lower. Again, neither appeared injured – it seems to be all about the posturing. Smart birds.

Of course, animals do fight ‘for real’ too, but the rule seems to be that avoiding the risk of injury is best if at all possible. They know they’ve too much to lose if they get hurt – their ability to find food is paramount. There’s probably an system to be constructed aimed at ensuring humans who would fight are always vulnerable to personal loss, and that they’re fully aware of that vulnerability.

That applies in the sense of a street brawl or in the sense of taking their country to war but it’s only for the latter that you can imagine successfully putting a formal system in place. To properly refine it, you would want to ensure that even the victor suffers some loss, by some mechanism in proportion to the losses suffered by those who fought to achieve any victories.