Thursday, April 20, 2006

20 feet.

At Mom's today, I did the rounds by checking and cleaning out her bluebird houses. She has four, but is not actively trying to attract bluebirds.
The first three had trashy nests, and no eggs.
Number four was a different story...
Five naked one-day old chicks and a warm egg. (See below for photos)
Now, I posted this morning how much I hate the little buggers, because I am trying my damnedest to get some bluebirds. And I tried to remember that as I carried the nest with the chicks and egg to the pond to leave in the grass. The chicks were peeping and begging.
In my head: They're House Sparrows...House Sparrows...you hate them...you hate them.

I got about 20 feet.

Returning the nest and inhabitants to the box, I had a rather unpleasant dichotomy raging in my head. Eggs, empty nests, no problem. Baby birds, no matter the species, I just can't do. Even eggs, I could throw away. Eggs don't peep at you, or shiver with cold or beg for food.
I spared the life of 6 House Sparrows today. I had it in my power to end their lives and the United States would have 6 less HOSP to contend with.
But I still couldn't do it.
It's made me wonder...how much of a hard-core birder am I? Do I care what those bird-or-die types will say?
Turns out that I don't care. I care about the sleepless nights I would have (and boy, would I!) and the anguish every time I walked by Mom's pond. I care about the life I held in my hand today...even if it was a House Sparrow life.
I couldn't do it.

7 comments:

LauraHinNJ said...

I wouldn't have been able to either, Susan. Too soft-hearted; they're innocents, it's not their fault they were born house sparrows, right?

Susan Gets Native said...

Laura,

Thanks so much for that. I needed to hear some validation from another birder. Hugs to you.

Susan's non-birding husband said...

I'm glad you gave her the validation, too, Laura. I would have wondered who I was living with if the story had ended differently, say, with my wife cackling like a demented maniac, bragging about taking out the lives of these little birds. I told her she did the right thing, but being a non-birder, my opinion, of course, doesn't count.

LauraHinNJ said...

I wondered for a minute because I started reading at the bottom of the page; first the pic of the nest, then the pic of the naked nestling in your hand, and then... I was afraid to read the top post!

Better (easier on the psyche) to trash the nest before the eggs are laid if you feel you need to.

Hugs back at you for being nice (even to house sparrows)!

Bird-Brained said...

Susan, you bungled your chance to rid the country of some of those pesky house sparrows. You should have lined them up against the wall, and then called Dick Cheny and told him it was hunting season in the backyard ---- then you should have run for it and taken cover in a neighboring county.

Shannon said...

I am very proud of you Susan. Life is life regardless of how you feel about the end result. Every living thing is here for a reason. Please do not entertain any more thoughts of killing baby house sparrows. (Please envision me shaking my finger at you while you are reading this.)

Susan Gets Native said...

Yes, Mom.

Hugs.