May 7, 2023
The ‘elepaio was hungry. He had been up and down, back and forth, and side to side on his favorite koa tree. He’d found a caterpillar, a few smallish bugs, and no spiders at all. This was unusual. His favorite tree was normally a favorite place for caterpillars, bugs, and spiders as well. On this day, however, they’d mostly decided to go someplace else.
He was hungry.
He searched the tree once more from top to bottom and all the way to the ends of its long branches. He found a couple more bugs, but no spiders at all. He was particularly fond of spiders, at least he was on this day when he couldn’t find any. He perched on a branch and sang a short, sad, “I’m hungry,” kind of song.
“What’s wrong?” came a voice from a neighboring tree. It was a friend of his, another ‘elepaio, and she seemed concerned.
“I’m hungry,” he complained, “and all I’ve found are a few bugs, one caterpillar, and no spiders at all.”
His friend was puzzled. She was not hungry. She’d been foraging in a couple of ohi’a trees all morning and had quite a nice breakfast from them.
“How strange,” she said. “I’ve been having a nice breakfast, myself.”
“I’m not sure I believe you,” he said. “It’s been such a miserable morning.”
Fortunately his friend decided not to be insulted. “Where have you been looking?” she asked. “Perhaps you’ve just been unlucky.”
“Right here,” he said, “here in my favorite tree.”
“Where else?” she asked.
“Where else would I look?” he said.
She was silent for a moment before she suggested, “Well, anywhere else, I would think.”
“How would I find spiders in anything but a nice koa tree?” he asked. “Why would they want to be anywhere else but this, their favorite tree?”
“There are plenty of them over here in this ohi’a tree,” she said.
“Show me the spiders,” he said, “and I’ll believe.”
For a moment his friend was offended this time – it feels bad when your friends tell you they don’t believe you. She decided to make allowances because he was hungry. Sometimes when creatures are hungry they get hangry, you know. She took a quick look around, made a hop or two to the side, and plucked something off a cluster of ohi’a leaves. Then she spread her wings and flew over to settle beside her hungry friend.
She said nothing because she had a spider in her beak. She set it down next to him. He looked at it.
“Sometimes you’ve got to look in more places than you expect,” she said.
“I guess so,” he said.
“Let’s have some breakfast together,” she said.
So they did.
by Eric Anderson
Watch the Recorded Story
There was a problem with the lavaliere microphone at the beginning of the story. Thanks to our technical crew I switched to a working microphone after a short time.
Photo of an ‘elepaio by Bettina Arrigoni, HarmonyonPlanetEarth – Hawaii Elepaio (male) | Pu’u O’o Trail | Big Island | HI | 2015-11-06at15-07-453, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45577718.