Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Something Troubling

For two years, I have been a member of a Facebook group called
"Kansas Birding" .  Since Keith was dying a great part of that time, I did not have time to go 
out and take shots and contribute to it, but I loved seeing everyone else's shots. 
I learned so much from it. 

Today, I learned something that hurt my heart.  A man who posts multiple times
daily, and whom I really admired... posted a picture of what appeared to be a cage. 

I jokingly referred to it, saying that sparrows had to eat, too. 

Imagine my surprise as I read down the comments, and realized it 
was a cage to trap and kill sparrows during the winter, which he 
considered a trash bird.  Not release them somewhere, but kill them, 
presumably by drowning, a horrible death. 

I was stunned.  I am still stunned, an hour later. 

This person often shows one of his children with him, teaching him the 
ropes of birding.  What stunned me even more was that there was a long list of 
people cheering him on, also referring to the sparrows and how they polluted everything and ate all the seed. 

I guess it worries me that someone is teaching a child it's okay to love SOME things, but to kill those you don't. 

Those of you who have read Calamity Acres over the nine years I have blogged, 
know me well.  We have had llamas, a pony, mini horses, turkeys, geese, 
chickens large and small, 
beloved dogs and cats, and my dear goats. 

I know what a "trash bird" can do to a henhouse: 

But, you know what?  We didn't poison or kill the starlings. 

As a matter of fact, a  very nice man has been working on this henhouse, which may be ready by spring... and has sealed off all the entry points by which they came in. 
That is how I roll. 


I know you can't prevent sparrows from coming into your yard, don't worry. 

I feed the starlings, too, along with everything else that's hungry in the 
winter.  To see hundreds of  starlings feeding is something else, and no, I don't love it.  But I work around it.  I feed after they have gone away, so the little birds, blue jays, juncoes, titmice, 
cardinals (last to eat) and the crows, plus all the sparrows... have a chance.  Yes, the bills are higher... so what. 

A former neighbor took his martin houses down in the fall... 
so the sparrows would not take them over. 


Like I said, I am so disappointed in this person, and have quit following him. 
I'll probably stop following Kansas Birding as well, because, you see... I don't bird in my 
limited time because I want to see hawks and owls and other birds of prey.  I bird because I love all the birds, large and small.  I stopped on a country road this afternoon to watch two swans with 
a group of geese on a farm pond,  but I stop just as much for the smaller birds, too.    It doesn't have to be spectacular. And for the heck of it, I saw a Northern Harrier up close and personal on my way back from the feed store, just before the swans, so see... nature is all around us. 
It doesn't have to be something spectacular. 

Joe Petersburger, a photographer whom I follow on Instagram, often says 
"keep a small footprint, and see what's RIGHT AROUND YOU".  

My beautiful Lilly, just 30 minutes ago.  She is not feeling well, and goes to see the dogtor tomorrow afternoon.   You can't see it in this picture, but there is a large bare spot on her other side, 
and I suspect ringworm, but we will see. 

Not killing this one for doing what comes natural to protective roosters, either. 

He came at me several times today, but got surprised each time.  He will soon learn. Noise and slapping a stick in your hand goes a long way. 

I took twenty minutes to pitchfork out under the roosts in the hen spa. 
Ugh.  Normally I would put this on the compost heaps, but today, I let it 
drop in the henyard for the hens to pick through again, and put fresh straw on the area.  

Jester was loath to start his day this morning, but it turned into a glorious fall day, 
55 and sunny! 

Rant over. 


  1. That is very sad. I am with you in the wanting to preserve all life as much as possible. We try and catch and release mice as much as possible. I do eat some meat (I have reduced this over the last year), we should work to preserve all life.

  2. Love your rant, especially the part against "teaching a child it's okay to love SOME things, but to kill those you don't." Isn't that what bigots and racists and xenophobes and misogynists use to justify violent actions? The older I get, the less stomach I have for death, dying, and suffering of any kind – well, okay, some insects excepted. ;-)

  3. Hari om
    A fabulous post Mary Ann and more power to you for the love you have for all. Rooster Cogburn is blessed to be living with you and as there is not risk to eyes and more of young children or death to any chickens (as there was on my uncle's farm) all is good. Sadly, even this pacifist vego accepts there are times such danger must be addressed. It's a tricky thing, this balance. YAM xx

  4. I do understand where you are coming from. We used to get hours of entertainment from the sparrows that came to the feeders. An ounce of prevention goes a long ways and not just with much could be prevented if people would only realize it.

  5. Thanks for posting the sparrow info. What he does not understand is that with no sparrows then predators and disease will jump to the other birds he so favors. Sparrows eat a ton of bugs as well. I have birds that drown in my poultry water buckets in the early mornings. I now dump the buckets at night so this does not happen and now put in metal mesh during the day.
    I had a question about your aggressive rooster what breed is he?

  6. We gotta like Jester's attitude! That is just sad that an avid birdie would do such a thing! We hope Lily checked out OK!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  7. I'm appalled someone would trap sparrows to kill them. Sparrows eat bugs and are food for raptors.

  8. I agree, that's horrible. Really, it should be illegal. Especially if you are stupid enough to put it on the WWW.

    They amuse me in our yard. They fight like brothers and sisters and chatter away. They come into the barn and eat up the grain the horses drop and also go thru their poo. YUCK.

    I hope Lily Ann is okay. We worry so much about our sweeties.
    Jester is just too funny.

    Take care Mary Ann.


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