Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rehabbing the Undesirables

This article in the NY Times was especially touching:

not least of all because a lot of birders view Rock Pigeons as not much more than sky rats. These non-natives, along with birds like Starlings, House Sparrows and Red-tailed Hawks have my admiration as gutsy exploiters of a very harsh urban environment. It's good to see someone taking sympathy on them.

I have mixed feelings about rehabbers, who in some cases lean towards the overzealous - chasing the AMNH hummingbird around with butterfly nets on the grounds that it was going to die imminently (it's still there, 6 weeks later), or the intervention in the case of "Violet", the Union Sq Red-tailed Hawk which ultimately lead to her post-surgery death (and would have confined her to a zoo like existence had she survived). I like to "give the bird the benefit of the doubt".

But there are a lot of rehabbers that do a lot of good - I've seen the Wild Bird Fund release an Ovenbird at Tanner's Spring, which after sitting there for ten minutes or so just got up and restarted its life in the wild once more. As with the pigeons, it's not like these acts tip the balance on the conservation of any particular species. They are not Whooping Cranes. These are, instead, acts of pure compassion. You could do worse than to donate to their cause.

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