Wishing On a Dead Bird

kmyvz By kmyvz, 23rd Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/21w7k6k0/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Some Nat Geo channel inspired thoughts on why even the littlest actions matter.

Even the littlest actions matter, in ways we never imagine.

Please, let’s be conscious of the world outside ourselves.

By that I mean where and how we intersect with others, nature, society, family…life.

I watched a program on Nat Geo tonight about condors. I’d say they were California condors because that’s the only kind I’ve ever heard of but frankly, I don’t know, I only caught a snippet, they didn’t say and it doesn’t matter anyway. I know from snippets heard elsewhere, and you probably do too, that condors are endangered.

So this group of altruistic, nature-type people go out and study the condors. They tag and track them, watch what they eat and when they breed. They seem like nice people, who really, really love these ugly birds that eat roadkill.

A few years ago they noticed that condors were dying in regular intervals, at the end of the hunting season. By “hunting” I mean condor-food-hunting, when fresh kills are plentiful and they have a buffet of food choices, which just happens to coincide with human hunting season.

I didn’t tune in early enough to hear why hunters would shoot animals then leave the carcass to rot but the point was that the condors come along as clean up crew. In the process, the condors were ingesting enough lead bullet fragments, over the course of a hunting season, to poison them. Then these hugs, magnificent birds (who didn’t ask to be born ugly, but don’t me started on that) die.

The nature-type people went to the hunters and asked them to stop using lead bullets and surprisingly in our world of political entitlement, the hunters said ok. Problem solved, cue happy credits music. Except that the nature-type people noticed another dead bird near their watch station. Turns out this one had swallowed a quarter which stuck in its gullet, causing it to starve.

This killed me. The image of a bird - who never did anyone wrong, never cared about a political debate, told a dirty joke or cheated on it’s spouse – raising it’s head to the sky to glurp and strain and try to swallow this coin. Days later, after round the clock discomfort, hunger and pain, lying down in weakness to rest, and eventually die – that killed me. It deserves better.

At this point in the show I realized these must be California condors because they start talking about The Grand Canyon, where people stand at the edge and throw coins into the crevasse to make wishes. Really? This bird died because of us? Now that’s sad.

I’m a Christian. And there are those in the Christian church who will say that animals are dumb, meant to be ruled my man yada yada yada. I get that. I’m not a vegetarian.

But I believe in compassion, humility and thankfulness. I don’t mean just the compassion to train your fellow man for a job that helps them help themselves, I mean a compassion that aches for the smallest suffering. I mean a humility that says I deserve no better than this animal, who never sinned against God. I mean the kind of thankfulness for the beauty of an eagle that recognizes that we, as people, don’t even deserve the ugly condor. The kind of recognition of everything – EVERY THING - we’ve been gifted with on this earth.

And the appreciation to care that stems from such recognition.

Sure, we’re People, we’ve conquered this earth and we’re awesome and we can do whatever we want now because it’s OUR place and it will last long enough for us to live and die and become condor food. It may even last long enough for our children and grandchildren to live and love and die. Damn the eco warriors!

But is that how we want to live? As a fat, monocled Mr. Monopoly, running roughshod over The Grand Canyon, the Appalachian Trail, the park down the street just because we can? I don’t. And I don’t think you do either. And I get it, you're busy, I'm busy, who has time to stop and think all the way down the ecology chain before you flip a quarter into a canyon? Well, you and I do. We control our busyness.

Its just a quarter…it’s just a wish…it’s just a death. Its kind of time think outside ourselves.


Ecology, Nature

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author avatar kmyvz
I love animals, faith and people - often, but not necessarily in that order. I think it takes a lot of shutting up and listening to learn truths.

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author avatar A K Rao
24th Aug 2012 (#)

That is a nice write up! I appreciate your concern dear Kmyyz! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Aug 2012 (#)

We are mostly cruel, also hypocrites - siva

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author avatar akram saqib
24th Aug 2012 (#)

men deserve more care than birds and animals

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author avatar kmyvz
24th Aug 2012 (#)

Yep, but caring for one is not mutually exclusive of the other. We can be less selfish toward both.

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