Friday, March 07, 2003

I finished the taxes, what a relief. As it turns out, itemizing was worth it.

Today in the Times Union, there was a letter to the editor about the crow problem in Albany. I've been following the story for a several weeks. (Unfortunately the other columns, stories and letters are no longer accessible for free.) It seems some people have complained about the large number of crows gathering in their neighborhoods. So those responsible for such things have been using "fireworks, laser, and alarming sounds" to chase them away, which is much better than an alternative, recreational shoots, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

A couple of months ago, I was on campus in the evening during intercession, and all was quiet except for the crows. There were a lot of them in the trees near the education building. Yeah, it was kind of reminiscent of The Birds, but that is more a testament to Alfred Hitchcock's skill in etching his movies into our memories than an indictment of the crows that were gathered there. Poor maligned birds!

Today's story made me remember last weekend, when my parents were telling me about a raven at the farm who was at risk of becoming a hawk's dinner. My mother calls the ravens John Henry, and considers them her friends. She watched as this John Henry did some fancy flying to avoid the hawk. She was rooting for him to fly under the eaves of the barn, but he didn't. She wasn't sure if he got away.

I always get so mad when I hear that people want to accommodate human sprawl by interfering with animals. It isn't that I don't feel bad when an alligator rips off someone's arm at a golf course, or a bear kills a baby. But we should remember that the people were invading the alligator's and bear's spaces. Wild animals are not the cute and cuddly images that Disney promotes. They are a part of nature and should be respected, simple as that. Why must we always insist on trying to transform nature, when the truth is we can never win?

Sort of related are the occasions when someone from a new housing development tries to get zoning passed to eliminate a nearby farm, because they believe the odors of chicken or cow manure (notice I'm not including horse because we all accept that it smells good) are offensive. So move!

There's a webring devoted to crows and ravens. And no post would be complete without mentioning Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. I wonder if this poem, and not Hitchcock, is responsible for human dislike of a bird? True, they scavenge, and are often seen near dead stuff. But eating up roadkill strikes me as useful, rather than evil. The circle of nature at work. It also helps out the highway crews, saving us tax money.

See, I managed to bring it back to my opening...

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