Friday 2 December 2011

Can you kill a bird by throwing it off a cliff?

Recently I took part in an online discussion (which ended off as an argument for one eager 'contributor') about some dude in the USA who (apparently) shot and killed rare birds in his home state.

At first I was rather surprised that this took place until someone posted a link about how these rare birds often end up as museum specimens and can be beneficial for research/documentation and for simply understanding where it came from and how it got to where it was - and in one case the bird was unidentifiable without getting its DNA.

So it seemed there was some merit to killing a bird despite the many ethical issues and the obvious environmental problems!

You might remember that I helped out with a study this past summer where I had to kill butterflies to be sent to a lab (funnily enough I recently heard about an entomologist who turned into an ornithologist because he thought that all he was doing was going around killing insects!) It's hard to say if a bird or butterfly is more important (although I'm sure some people have their opinions) so it was hard for me to simply dismiss the fact that the birds being shot were being used in a museum as useless and outdated.

So, with that in mind, the question is if I would/could kill a bird (or that's how this blog post started at least)?
I've jumped on both sides of the fence over the last few years from thinking that I would shoot a Common Eider (for example) in Newfoundland if I knew I was going to eat it to thinking that I would never kill a wild bird! Especially since I read that C Eider numbers are decreasing even though thousands can be seen at a time off the coast of NL.

Then I thought about the hens my parents have in the backyard. Would I even be able to kill those gals? It's one thing to say I would but believe it or not I actually find it difficult to squash a snail to feed to the hens (partly because I'm too weak physically* and also because I think snails are important too!!) I don't think the fact that my parents named the hens will make it easier to slaughter them.

While thinking about this I searched "would you kill a bird" on Google. The first link had people say:
"But blue jays and wood peckers and mocking birds and anything else that makes obnoxious noises deserves to die."
"In most states blackbirds may be killed year-round if they are "commiting depradation" (pooping) on your crops or property."

I stopped reading when someone asked:
"Can you kill a bird by throwing it off a cliff"... followed by
"yes the first thing that comes to mind is no, birds can fly, but dont birds like need a draft or a wind to kinda pick them up, or even a lil running start...
what if you throw a bird upside down?? wouldnt they plummet to their death? i dont think they are like cats and automatically correct themselves and put themselves feet first and fly......
know what i mean?"

No, I don't know what you mean!
Some people really need a birder to show them around and maybe glue their eyes so that they're permanently open!

The Internet is notorious for ignorant comments and spelling errors. These people just need to be dragged out of their basements and shown how beautiful our world really is!

[Photo from here]

[Photo from here]

And watch this video if you want to watch an Egret come to a horribly painful end.

So, what was the point of this blog post? Nothing.

I think I'll stick to throwing rocks off cliffs for now to be sure of a destructive end (the height is 60m just in case you're wondering).


**just kidding