Let me ask our distinguished International Panel a bird question.
I walk by a long, dense hedge each day. So do hundreds and hundreds of others.
Birds build their nests in the hedge. In the spring, they storm out of the hedge, swooping and diving and cursing, threatening everyone who goes by. I know that it's instinct, that our nearness threatens their nests and that they want to drive us off.
So my question is: Why did they build their nests there in the first place? Exactly the same volume of foot traffic passes by while they are choosing the hedge and building their nests; why did that go unnoticed? Why didn't instinct kick in then? Why didn't they go elsewhere, with less traffic?
(BTW, last spring, for the first time, I saw a red-wing blackbird hop out of a shrub and pretend to be hurt. He landed on the ground, dragged his wing and limped away from the bush. Very convincing, and if I were I cat, I'd have believed him.)