Long-tailed tits at our feeder, especially during these cold snowy days.
First there was just one, but now there at at least two, which seems
more normal, since these birds often go about in little flocks. They are
a delight to watch.
The phrase, 'pecking order', was coined, it seems, in the 1920s by scientists like Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe who studied the feeding patterns of domestic poultry. Hens used their beaks and roosters tended to use their feet to keep lesser rivals at bay. The term began to be applied to human beings in the 1950s. Dominance hierarchy is an alternative expression and has given rise to other expressions such as 'top dog'.