Monday, July 19, 2010

What an awful bit of avian irony. I filled the bird feeder attached to the window in the den and, as usual, it took about ten seconds for the first of the birds in the yard to land on it and start to peck away at the seeds in the feeder. In the colder months, when the natural food sources are scarce, they patiently wait on a snow covered globe of an evergreen bush for a turn at perching on the feeder for some sustenance. Today, I fill the feeder, hang it on the window and take my paper and cup of tea out to the back porch where I listen to the birds in the morning fly and call to each other in the tall trees that loom over the yard and some birds fly down and land on the edge of the pool as if it is one giant bird bath.
I sort through the pages of the newspaper preparing to read the utterly depressing updates of the damage caused by the hemorrhaging oil rig in the waters off the shores of the gulf coast as the morning sun begins to warm the wooden planks of the deck. I've been reading the tragic results of the spill on the innocent sea creatures and it makes one feel angry and hopeless all at once that something like this could happen and on such a grand scale.
But today the front page news includes some flocks of birds closer to home in the form of wildlife that peacefully coexist with the hum of city life. Canadian geese and their tiny offspring had become a familiar sight to the visitors and park rangers of Prospect Park and when one of the birds was discovered to have an arrow that had pierced its neck the rangers did what they could to help the bird. But as of a hot Thursday in July recently nearly all four hundred of the geese were gone. A group of wildlife biologists had swooped in and crated the geese and taken them to a neighborhood building to be gassed with lethal amounts of carbon dioxide.
Since that fateful day in January of last year that a group of geese flew into the engines of flight 1549 there have been efforts made to thin the population of geese in the areas surrounding the major metropolitan airports although the Smithsonian confirmed that the remains of those geese were not "residential" birds from the area as the Prospect Park birds were. The timing of the round up was intentionally timed to coincide with when the geese are molting and as a result can't fly. You would think that wildlife biologists could come up with a better plan. The pictures from the gulf coast are of technicians in lab coats and hair nets hand washing birds laden with oil on their feathers and morning visitors to a Brooklyn park discover flocks of birds that have become a familiar sight have vanished and wiry secure ties lie beside a pile of fluffy gosling feathers?
British Petroleum has finally put a cap on the flow of oil into the water. After the damage to present and future ecosystems and putting people out of business all along the coast it is a Pyrrhic victory at best. Compare it to the man who screwed up in an astounding way who sends you a colossal spray of flowers to apologize. The flowers may put him on slightly better ground but the focus is on everything he does from that point forward.