The Birds

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

The power of connectivity. It's something that's influencing us at every turn, even if we are not always aware of it. But it is always there, and in this week's post, Erika ponders over the power of connectivity in the world around her.

So the other week I walked out of the house shortly after 5 pm to pick up the kids and was met with an onslaught of birds. Hundreds (dare I say, thousands?!) of birds were flying from tree to tree along my house and the surrounding ones. And they weren’t just flying from tree to tree: they were whistling and calling and squawking and chirping. They were swooping and swarming and huddling and flocking.

I, being known for my Rational and Logical and Thinking brain, thought: “Well. Clearly it’s the end of the world. We’re probably about to have a massive earthquake or get hit by an asteroid. The birds are warning us.”

I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as I was to discover that I was not exactly correct in my theory.

When I got home with the kids and the world hadn’t erupted into any sort of natural disaster, I did the next Rational- and Logical- and Thinking-type thing: I asked Google.

As it turns out, the birds were just preparing to roost, and they were calling out to let their family know that they were okay and chat about their day. I imagine it as the best family dinner hour/bedtime routine: “Hey, Frank! You totally pooped on that mini-van!” “Suzie! Did you catch that worm?” “Ma! I’m sleeping over on Bob’s branch tonight!”  “Night!” “Night!” “Night!” “Night!”

I am sure that birds have prepared to roost in my presence before, and I, of course, have seen the amazing footage of starlings similarly engaging in “murmuration," but I truly never noticed it up close and personal until the other week. Since then, I have been able to watch and listen to them regularly. They don’t pick our corner of the world every night, but when they do it’s amazing.

It’s amazing for a lot of reasons, but the sheer scope of their presence is what strikes me most. These are little birds. Individually, they don’t make much of a dent in the universe; in fact you’d probably not even notice one if it was sitting alone in a tree.  But together... wow… together. When they get together they stop being just birds and become poetry. Their calls become some sort of music and their flight a dance. It is a humbling reminder of the vastness of nature and the remarkable power of connectivity. It's a reminder that individually we are certainly something... but together, we are simply unstoppable.

What chorus can you add your voice to? What flight can you add your wings to? 


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"The Power of Connectivity: Starlings, Sparrows, and Me", The Leadership Program, 2015

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.