By Simon Ambit
With gnarled teeth and intimidating claws, the badger is one of the orneriest varmints I can think of. Throughout the years, the badger family has been known for their fighting attitude and aggressive behaviors.
At the other end of the spectrum are the thoughts and stereotypes that come to mind when we think of birds. We tend to think of grace and meekness; the majesty of flight and the sweetness of their songs.
So, when presented with the idea that a symbiotic relationship could exist between these two character differences, the thought peaked my interest. Though some will argue the thought, there is also video to support the existence of a mutually beneficial interaction that takes place between the honey badger and the indicator bird, also known as the honey finder.
It is claimed that the honey guide gains the attention of the honey badger and then flies reconnaissance for the ground forces of the stalking badger following on the ground below. Interacting together, the tiny bird helps the badger locate a beehive. Due to its thick hide and dense fur, the ravenous honey badger is protected against the sting of the defending bees. Using its powerful claws and teeth, the badger is able to unlock the hive and expose the treasure inside. With the honey exposed and readily available, the honey guide and the honey badger can now feast upon vittles of honey, beeswax and larvae.
As we look around us, many of these types of relationships can be found, where two parties who differ from one another can create mutual benefit. When the remora attaches itself to a shark, the remora feeds off of the tiny organisms on the body of the shark and enjoys the protection provided, all while removing parasites and loose skin from the shark. Also, the dual benefit between bees who gather pollen while pollinating flowers and other plant life, which help one another to thrive.
I have always enjoyed the deep heritage the runs through the heart of this great area. I believe that one of our great strengths has been the melting-pot of ancestral lines that hail from such a diverse range of origins. I think that if we can always use our individual differences to benefit the greater whole, then we will forever remain strong against the ebb and flow of fossil fuel, oil and gas and a rural economy. If we can continue to look past the fact that we are different and yet can help to mutually benefit one another, then we, like those around us in nature, will continue to thrive.