The War on Birds
Nowadays, it seems like you can’t do or say something that doesn’t offend someone. Hardly a day seems to go by when you don’t hear about someone whose feelings got hurt because of something someone did or said. A 68-year old woman doesn’t get a job as a waitress at Hooters, it’s ageism; an 18-year old guy doesn’t get the same job; sexism, some kid gets a boo boo playing dodgeball and the rejoinders of “wimpism” abound. The media tend to categorize these abuses using umbrella headlines that call our attention to the “War on (fill in the blank)”. Naturally, this whips us all into a frothy lather, and immediately the drumbeat begins for laws to protect the “rights” of the injured party. Personally, I think this is a good thing because aren’t we all tired of traditional gender and age-related stereotypes, and anything that we can do to protect our young people from spherical rubber objects makes us better as a society. I am concerned, however, that there is a group out there that truly is under siege that no one seems to be talking about. Although you probably haven’t read about it since the little fellas can’t speak for themselves, let me tell you that there is a War on Birds going on right here in America. That’s right, our entire aviary population is under assault, and no one is standing up to call attention to this scourge and protect the rights of our feathered friends.
Let me begin by admitting that the life of the average bird has always been one of constant danger. Whether it came from an unprovoked attack by Fluffy, the Greenfeld’s cat, the unobserved high tension power line or the freshly Windexed sliding glass door, the average robin or blue jay’s demise was rarely due to the ravages of old age. A tough life certainly, but one that maintained the natural balance between the mockingbird population and the cleanliness of the average windshield. Unfortunately, in recent years, new man made threats have arisen that have taken a toll on our migratory bird population that can only be described as green-powered genocide.
It began with the proliferation of the turbines built to harness the wind needed to deliver 3.95% of our electrical power. To the typical Green Peacer, this attempt to turn the U.S. into a high tech Holland was a good thing. Unfortunately for the likes of eagles and condors this effort has been tantamount to erecting 1,000’s of guillotines in their flight paths. As if life wasn’t hard enough on the endangered species list, now taking off on a search for food has begun to resemble a romp through a Cuisinart for these majestic creatures.
Adding decapitation to the list of daily perils to avoid would be cruel enough for our flying friends, but it has now been established that solar panels are even more foreboding deathtraps than a field of spinning blades. In many respects these monuments to our feeble efforts to harness the power of the sun—doesn’t the name Icarus mean anything to folks?—are even more insidious than the worst wind powered assassin. Their mirrored surfaces are often perceived to be bodies of water by migratory fowl, thereby enticing the hungry or weary goose or duck to innocently plummet into the death embrace of a solar panel. Grisly is not too strong a term to describe this method of departure from this mortal coil. Unfortunately, the term “cruel and unusual punishment” seems to mean nothing to these green power fanatics, as it has recently been determined that many a winged creature is literally incinerated from the heat generated from these solar powered “killing fields”. One minute you’re a sparrow returning to Capistrano, and the next, flambé. Is “path to extinction” too strong a phrase to describe this on-going combustion of this country’s migratory flocks?
I for one have yet to hear of any such similar carnage associated with the oil derricks that populate our countryside. In our efforts to divorce ourselves from the abundance of natural fuel that resides within our nation’s boundaries, we have declared war on the ethereal beauty of the hummingbird and the sweet song of the nightingale. Although I wait for the day the media joins me in raising our collective conscious to turn back this onslaught, I know that I am not alone. Surely, you members of the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club will join me in calling for an end to this insanity. I say, “Drill not Kill”. Who’s with me?