Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Marilyn's Crane

It's not often that I get to see a non-raptor at RAPTOR, Inc. A few nighthawks, things like that.

A few days ago, Marilyn, one of our rehabbers (who is also licensed to treat non-raptors, is a retired art teacher, and a generally neat person), got a call about a "big bird" in a bad part of town. The person reporting it also said that some neighborhood boys were throwing things at it.

When Marilyn arrived, she knew what it was.
Crane foot
(I love bird feet....they have never lost their reptilian roots)

Anyone want to guess the owner of this foot?

Lorelei hand and crane foot

Here's Lorelei's hand next to the foot.

Give? was a sandhill crane.

It was a juvenile, suffering from a broken leg. A badly broken leg, with the lower leg just below the knee dangling by a thread.

Marilyn has been doing rehab basically forever, and knew this break would never heal properly. She took it immediately to one of our vets for euthanasia.

When I heard that we had a sandhill crane in the freezer, I had to have a look.

Juv sandhill crane in bag

Poor sweet bird....the neck was gently folded towards the back so it could fit into our freezer.
(This bird has gone to the Cincinnati Museum Center to be added to their collection)

It was so heavy....we are used to 3 pound hawks and a big 4 1/2 pound turkey vulture. This guy felt like it weighed about 10 pounds.

SHcrane 2

I couldn't stop exclaiming how beautiful it was. And how sad it was....and how enraged I was that pissy little boys were trying to hurt it as it trembled alone in the world, left behind by its flock.

Migration is so very rough on birds...Look at the ragged edges of the feathers:

Worn feathers crane

The more I think about it, the angrier I get.
I have two girls. I'm a girl. So I really don't get the mentality of human males.

WHY do boys do things like that? Is it nature? Is it nurture? What makes a little boy fry ants with a magnifying glass, or stomp bugs, or throw rocks at a sandhill crane?

I've had countless conversations with moms of boys, and they all say the same thing (and I don't buy it)...."Boys will be boys" and "It's a boy thing".

Someone explain this to me.


Lynne said...

I don't think it's a boy thing. My Molly has told me several times that the kids she's most cautious around at her big public high school are the girl groups. "Chick-fights" a she calls them are nastier and more violent than the known male gang fights. I don't think there is anything meaner than a mean girl.

Sorry for the Sandhill Crane. It's not right.

dAwN said...

That cruel.
I can understand your anger...Cant understand that kind of hurt a living creature...just awful!

KGMom said...

Oh, how sad--poor poor crane. Aren't sandhills majorly endangered?
As for "a boy thing"--not my boy. I raised my son on no guns, no fighting, etc. He had trucks and stuffed animals (OK--dolls) as a child. He turned out to love books most of all.
Anytime he was around a living creature--human or otherwise--I insisted that he never hurt it.
Someone once asked me if I minded not having a daughter to raise (at that time, my daughter had not been born). My answer--I am raising my son for someone else's daughter. And, so it is true--my daughter-in-law is one lucky person.

Shannon said...

Well Susan your highly intelligent friend, currently studying this at Xavier will explain. It is all nurture. Look around you, look at tv ads and how they depict women and men. Look at the video games and the aggression they display. The male species is not born this way, they are made this way. How many times have you heard in your lifetime that "Men don't cry". They are taught almost from birth that they are emotionless creatures. Without emotion comes aggression. Think about how angry you get when you cannot express yourself, now imagine a lifetime of feelings and emotions that cannot be expressed. This could go on forever, but that is it all in a nut shell, we as a society teach these behaviors to our boys, then excuse them with "boys will be boys". Rant over!!

Susan Gets Native said...

I figured I would hear from the moms I know with boys and you guys didn't disappoint.
What I think is that since you guys are Enlightened Blogger Women, it would be a cold day in Hell when you let your boy do something like this. You all are doing something right.

But I wanted to open the discussion to see if we could all make sense of something that in this situation seems so senseless.
And who's to say that these boys didn't break the bird's leg too? If that was the case, I sure hope the bird took a pound of flesh from one of the little bastards.

Another thing I wonder:
There are vast databases that show that torturing animals can a predecessor to murdering a person. That's a bit of a leap here, but it's worthy of mentioning. Like Shannon said, when we tell a little boy to be stoic and to "be a man", are we setting that boy on a path to an aggressive adulthood? Maybe not a serial killer, but surely a fighter instead of a lover?

NCmountainwoman said...

I do not believe for a minute such things are "boy" things. Girls are just as bad when raised in the same environment. I feel sorry for those children who do not feel that they have a stake in our society. They torture animals and bully other children to make themselves feel powerful in a powerless world. It is a shame and fills me with anger, both what they do and why they do it.

dguzman said...

Definitely a nurture thing, or the lack thereof. I can't stand to see mothers who allow that kind of behavior then blame it on a stupid cliche like "boys will be boys," or even "girls will be girls," and who don't nurture or teach love and respect for life.

Poor bird. I'm so sad now, and I'm angry too. Think I might've had to take those photos to that neighborhood and stalk those kids and show them what they'd done.

Windyridge said...

It's NOT a boy thing because I have two of them and they wouldn't consider for one minute doing something like that. It's bad parents imparting values in their children that cause those kinds of boys to be boys.

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, since most of the people who visit me here are decent parents, I won't be getting any answers from people who would let their boys do something like this. I appreciate everyone's thoughts, though.

So...instead of it being a "boy" thing....
What makes KIDS do this? I mean, I really want to understand it. I see thousands of kids every year and try my damnedest to impart some meaning, some love of nature into their little brains. Knowing what to say to them would help me immensely.

Gallicissa said...

Terrible to hear that Crane's fate. Bad boys. I they ought to be punished.

Rurality said...

I think it may partly be a crowd thing too - I've read about how people (not just kids) will do things as part of a crowd, that they would never normally do on their own.

It is sad, but it's also interesting to examine a bird like that close-up. Those ragged feathers really blow my mind.

Mary said...

IT ISN'T A BOY THING. It's what they learn, how they feel, how they act...without the right kind of nurturing.

Three high school sophomore boys broke into the biology lab one evening and played games - mutilated several gerbils. I was horrified. And, you know what? Those boys were kicked out of the school. Worse things happen, I know, but I'll never forget it and those horrible PARENTS who thought the administration was harsh...

Poor, beautiful Crane.


Julie Zickefoose said...

Liam, 9, has killed an ant. Once. When I asked him what that ant did to him to deserve that, he felt terrible. He's never done it again. He said, "I know you don't like ants and I was trying to be your server."

It's natural for any child to be curious about death, and to see what it feels like to deal it to something small and helpless. I had a class here for a field trip and one little girl--cute as a button- tried to smash a box turtle I was showing them. A kindergartner. She took it and snuck away with it and tried to kill it. She had killed several that she'd found before. I've watched this child grow up and believe she must be abused at home, though I can't be sure. It is the saddest thing.

I think children who feel powerless are most likely to exert cruelty on animals. Children who themselves are being hit or belittled or abused. Guns and superhero toys don't help. I've never bought my kids guns or Incredible Hulk fists and never will. Kids learn to do it from each other, too, and peer pressure can make otherwise harmless kids experiment with cruelty. I don't think it's exclusively a boy thing, I think it's a bad parenting thing. It's all I can do to hold back when I see parents belittling their children in public. They are creating their own monsters. But they're just doing what Daddy and Mom did to them. I think we all follow the models at hand.

Owlman said...

I'm a Sociology major and I mostly agree with the nurture argument. Up until the time that I had a boy and a girl, I would have argued that 99.9% of our actions are based on socialization. Now that I have both genders I do see some nature in their actions. Having said that I don't think boys are more aggressive or destructtive they just get away with it more because 'they are boys'.

Kathiesbirds said...

I don't buy the "boy" thing. I have 3 of them and they are not like this. My husband isn't either. When his father tried to turn him into a hunter and had him shoot a squirrel he cried. That was the first and last time he ever went hunting. I can't stand cruelty of any kind, and I know plenty of women and girls who can be cruel. It is a matter of the heart or of a person's character not bound to or defined by external genitals.

That is one huge and amazing foot. Though the end was inevitable I'm glad the poor bird was rescued from further taunting. I love the close-up of the feathers.

Anonymous said...

I'm 13 and this really enraged me. I love birds with all my heart and I'm a boy! I've got nothing to hide about it. Those boys should go through the pain that poor bird went through. I saw some kids in my neiborhood dragging a turkey (they were not hunters) by the feet out of the woods, the bird was flailing helplessly the boys hung the bird with string by it's feet,came back and beat the poor thing to death with a stick. I tried to help the bird but I was afraid they might hit me. I was only 7 at the time. but this really is sad.