BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020 - 10

C o mpa s s P o i n t s

Backyard Darwinism
What We Can Learn
from my Bird Feeder

T.J. Huckleberry, MPA
Executive Director

T

ake a moment and consider this. We are currently
experiencing our lifetime's greatest evolution. Think about
it...I'll wait.

And while you are still letting that spin around in your brain, let
me tell you about my bird feeder.
I have been working from home since March. I have endured
the shuttering of my 35-and-over basketball league; I have
quarantined away family and friends for months; and of course was
pressganged into trying to teach my oldest son something called
"new math" during his virtual education. It was a living hell.
Luckily, the window out of my home office has a view of my
backyard bird feeder. This became my mental health focus point
(especially during the balance of work and "new math" in the
Spring). I would look out and see all sorts of birds jostling for seed
from my admittedly cheap and unstable feeder. In those earlier
days, when I was struggling to find PPE for our members and bitter
that there was no March Madness, all I could see and hear were the
cardinals, blue jays and blackbirds sumo wrestling over the seeds.
From time to time, the birds would knock over the feeder, to the
benefit of a freeloading chipmunk that established squatter's rights
under my patio steps.
As things calmed down throughout the summer, I began to
notice a change.
In the morning, a pair of cardinals would fly down. The female
was pregnant so she would land on the patio while the male would
sit at the feeder. The male would then drop seeds down to the
female and they would eat with no problem and fly off when they
were both full. Essentially the cardinals established their version of
uber-eats.
In the afternoon, a pair of blue jays would fly in. Previously the
weight of each of them on the feeder made it unsteady, forcing one
or both of them to slip off the end and fly away with nothing. Now

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the pair learned that if they took turns on the feeder they would
not slip off. This new organized approach also kept the feeder from
getting knocked over. Forcing the chipmunk to forage in my garage,
but that's another story.
My last observation came in August. On the whole, the finches
dominated the feeder. They were small, nimble and smart little guys.
When the larger birds were fighting and dropping seeds all over my
patio, they were down below with the chipmunk! They were light
enough that it didn't matter how many of them were on the feeder;
they could still get their share and get out without losing a couple
of feathers. More importantly, for every pair of cardinals or blue jays
there were ten finches.
So, let's circle back to my opening. We all are aware of the
challenges and chaos that we have experienced and continue to
endure. We all see that a "new normal" constitutes a radical change.
I also think we all can agree that, in this Darwin-like moment,
institutions that cannot adapt will not continue. Just like the birds
on my feeder, if we don't learn we don't eat.
I am proud to say that at the Berks County Medical Society we
ARE adapting, and our values ARE evolving. We are friggin finches!!
From the beginning of COVID, we refocused our efforts and
turned our energies back to addressing the immediate needs of
physicians. Throughout the summer we advocated and advised our
elected officials on best public health practices. We began to partner
with other community organizations and redoubled our efforts in
education by investing more in our scholarships and partnering
in new programs. We accomplished this in the span of a baseball
season, in our homes, in our sweatpants!!! In the scope of our
Society's almost 200 years of medicine in Berks County, we remain
extremely active. In terms of our relevance to our community, we
have never been as pertinent as we are right now.
So that was how we adapted to date. This is how we are going to
adapt moving forward. We realize that the next year is going to be a


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BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020

BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020 - 1
BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020 - 2
BCMS Medical Record Fall 2020 - 3
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