Vilfredo Pareto noted in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population – and that the ratio seemed to apply to many countries, many time periods, and many economies. But is it more than a useful rule of thumb? Pareto also observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. His ratio seems to pop up everywhere. Fred J. Rispoli, Suhua Zeng, Tim Green and Jennifer Higbie try telling it to the birds.