That, is the question. The wife was looking over the local paper when she says “Listen to this”, and then she reads aloud about a guy in the town of Cobourg who’s been ticketed for feeding geese and swans down at the lakefront … twice, at $105.00 apiece no less ! See it here : *** UPDATE JANUARY 25 2018 – Sorry, the link below is dead ***
Just last week the wife and I were treated to the sight of a town cop trying to give a coupla high school punks grief, for walking across the main street intersection against the light, right in front of him. They blew him off and continued texting. He told them to smarten up as there was a fine in excess of $100.00 for their arrogant, negligent stunt. They continued to blow him off as they walked away. He did nothing (of course). I can`t help but try to draw a comparison between endangering lives (their own and others), disregarding safety protocols, disrupting a main business corridor, ignoring an officer of the law … and the heinous crime of feeding birds ? Yet both “offenses” have virtually identical fines.
In the paper the wife read, there was also a representative from a local naturalist club who expressed the opinion that we shouldn’t feed the animals as “Nature will take care of itself”. Actually, I used to be a member of that same club many years ago. I have since made a few realizations. It’s true that Nature will take care of itself. However, it’s also true that we are a part of that Nature. Somewhere along the path to civilization, mankind got the (I assure you, mistaken) impression that we are the “stewards of the Earth” and “hold sway over the animals”. To quote Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Hmmmm, so that’s who’s to blame for the crap attitude eh ? Seriously though, this human arrogance is getting old. There are over 7 billion humans on Earth, and if you don’t believe that’s gonna have a monumental effect on the planet, then give your head a shake. If science is gonna seriously consider the flatulence of 1.2 billion cows to be a global threat, I shudder to think what effect two old guys, would have on it. Particularly since there’s a helluva lot more than 1.2 billion old guys ripping off “trouser terrors” daily.
The town of Cobourg is fussing over some guy feeding birds ? Take a look into the cultivated fields surrounding the town, or a dump site, and see how many gulls, geese, turkeys, and crows are picking away at the ground. It’s unintentional, but it’s still feeding them. Watch the wife and I (and many others) feeding chickadees, mourning doves, blue jays, and woodpeckers, down at our waterfront. I’ve read the survival rate of chickadees doubles in areas where humans intervene. So what if we feed a few, when we’re not hitting them with our cars, tricking them into flying into buildings at night, chopping them up in our wind turbines, bathing them in oil, wiping out their environments, luring them into range of our weapons, and blasting ‘em out of the sky, poisoning their bodies while still in the egg, and a host of other responsible things we do with wildlife.
The belief is, the animals got along just fine before we got here, and they’ll get along just fine after we’re gone. I just don’t see why they shouldn’t also get along just fine with us while we’re all here together. This “tough love” philosophy of “Let ‘em die, it’s Nature’s way of keeping the fragile balance of Life on Earth” doesn’t serve any worthwhile purpose for either of the animals in question here. For one, there’s nothing fragile about Life on Earth. Life will prevail, not necessarily our particular life-form, but Life will prevail. Life on Earth is as natural as the Earth orbiting the Sun. As well, you feeding a hungry creature in its time of need, is as natural as a hawk grabbing it, or it being pureed in the turbines of a jet engine. The hawk, and you, exert a natural effect on the bird. The difference being that you possess the capacity for pity, and can afford the luxury of mercy. We need that option if we want to continue thinking that we’re somehow better than the other animals.
No, you’re not gonna save the World by getting a few extra chickadees through a bad Winter. But neither will you do them any more harm, than doing nothing at all. You have just as much right to be here as they do, and you have the right to affect their existence as much as they do yours. And I can assure you, when a tiny and frail creature becomes so trusting, it will land on the hand of a giant … it affects your existence.