horse rescued from flood waters in Australia.
When she was a girl, my sister had a love affair with horses, especially Palaminos. This love probably came from some tv show we used to watch, possibly Roy Rogers. She still has the china Palamino that she got to replace getting a real horse. Today, my sister has a love affair going with a blackbird. However, she has expressed her lament for his return on her blog.
Well, bird numbers plummet due to a number of reasons, including:
- our love of plantation (i.e. inexpensive) coffee (birds lose their habitat);
- use of pesticides (pesticides can kill birds directly, poison them without killing them directly, or affect them by reducing their food or habitat resources);
- demand for new homes (More than 50 percent of all wetlands in the contiguous U.S., and many of the wetlands in Canada, have been drained or filled since the time of European settlement);
- and demand for cheap industrially produced food (10 million blackbirds killed over the years as crop pests, as I wrote about some time ago).
I wonder why few news reports about the recent sudden bird deaths explore reasons of corporate capitalism? Even the argument that perhaps weather is the culprit cannot be blamed in isolation. Haven't we humans been playing havoc with the weather through our consumer lifestyles and demand for leisure, efficiency, and cheap prices NOW?
And Martha Rosenberg asks, isn't it a bit ironic that "The Blackbird Killers [are] Sent to Investigate [the recent] Blackbird Deaths"?
"Do wildlife officials feel just a little hypocritical answering media questions about the New Year's Eve blackbird "rain" when they know they kill 200 times that amount a year as "pests"?
In 2009 the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), part of USDA, says it poisoned 489,444 red-winged blackbirds in Texas and 461,669 in Louisiana. It also shot 4,217 blackbirds in California, 2,246 in North Dakota and 1,063 in Oregon according to its posted records.
We won't even talk about the starlings, crows, ravens, doves, geese, owls (yes owls) hawks, pigeons, ducks, larks, woodpeckers and coots our tax dollars annihilated to benefit ranchers, farmers and other private interests. Or the squirrels, rabbits, badgers, bobcats, beavers, woodchucks, coyotes, opossums, raccoons and mountain lions.
The he-men at the Wildlife Service also shot 29 great blue herons, 820 cattle egrets and 115 white-faced ibises in 2009, despite the known dangers of approaching shore birds."