Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, Oct. 20

Column: Even birds' appearance matters more than it should

Do you believe that the way we look has a lot to do with the way we feel? If so, read on.

Evidently not only people, but birds with "enhanced beauty" will have improved self-esteem. A group of scientists have made the discovery that they say proves that "clothes make the man" is more than just a theory. Well, in this experiment, the "man" is a male barn swallow and the "clothes" are magic marker dark streaks "painted" on their breasts and feathers.

Yikes, now we have birds getting their hair dyed to improve their looks! Suddenly, even the wimpiest of male birds became chick magnets with increased testosterone levels! The biology professors who conducted the research claim when birds feel more attractive and "sexy" to chicks (oops, I mean female birds) it triggers a series of "body chemistry changes."

I seem to recall that there were a group of scientists getting honeybees drunk to see how it affected their "social skills." After years (and millions of dollars) of research, it was determined that drunken bees fall down a lot, lose interest in their jobs (worker bees got lazy), didn't want to socialize with other bees and generally acted in crude and disgusting ways.

Hey, I say go to any bar at night and the same "research" can be done for free. Do we really need to get a bunch of bees intoxicated? Let's get these scientists some real problems to solve.

Oh, back to the "marked-up" barn swallows. It seems with a few strokes of a black marker, male birds began to "strut their stuff" in very aggressive ways. The birds acted like steroid-taking, pumped-up body builders on Venice Beach! These barn swallows were getting plenty of female bird stares, chirps and flirtatious wing-flapping. Sadly, the poor birds that were left "unmarked" began to become passive and depressed.

One scientist calls it the ultimate proof that outward appearances do, indeed, translate to higher self-esteem, more energy and better breeding opportunities.

Hey, is it possible that this "bird doctor" actually has a bird-brain? We're talking barn swallows here!

It does seem that most Americans have become obsessed with "outward beauty." Too bad the bird world has to follow. Next it will be frogs, fish, maybe even lizards. Actually, I have a few adorable lizards living in my backyard and one of them seems to constantly do push-ups in front of the others. This is the male's way of "puffing up" for the female lizard. Showing off those bulging muscles is just one more way for the lizard to win a heart.

Let's face it, looks matter. From reptiles to people, there is power in outward appearances. I guess I was hoping that the animal kingdom would be more enlightened and that the lizard without the biggest biceps would still get the girl. Or that the pale, "natural" barn swallow can still find a mate. It would be nice to believe that it is only the human race that seems to be swallowed up (no pun intended) by good looks.

Let's try an experiment for one week and forget about outward appearances and focus on qualities like kindness, generosity and love. Oh, I have plenty more to say on this topic, but I have a hair and manicure appointment that I can't miss.

Truth is, maybe a little magic marker (or make-up) and a few more push-ups are pretty darn good ideas. If we look good ... do we feel good? I better get to the gym and I will let you know. Next week.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

Event Calendar
Event Calendar link
Submit Event

This Week's Circulars

To view money-saving ads...