Posts Tagged ‘house sparrow’

Hello again Jose

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

It had been some time  since I saw Jose. Last time we spoke he told me how talking about the martins had made him realize how much he missed them. As a landlord I can understand. A protectiveness and responsibility becomes part of your everyday life. He told me that he used to feel like he was a part of them, and when he left his home for the last time to go to the nursing home, he did not realize that he would never come back. “I guess I always thought that I would go home and go back to how it was. I never thought I would stay here so long.” I asked him if he thought his neighbors would ever see the birds return and put housing for them. “The last time I saw them houses they were a mess. Between me not taking care of that wood like I should and the storms…there wasn’t much left. My neighbors…they were not so much better off than me, you know? I don’t think people care too much for birds anymore. They care that they have a nice car and nice stuff. They talk big now saying we all use recycle this and that. But you know what I think? I think that recycling propaganda and green this, organic that…makes it all easy for people to not give a damn. They all think that they are doing their part but no one goes through the work. No one puts up the houses for the martins, leaves the old trees to rot and give the woodpeckers a place to live, fills the feeder with the good seed, kills those $&!^ Sparrows. They all want life wrapped in a pretty package with a pink bow.” We paused there and I felt a bit uncomfortable with his anger but I understood it. I finally said, “Hay, I don’t like them sparrows either!” He laughed and that seemed to release some tension. “I know, I know, you need to bring me a trap so I can put it our here for these ones here!” He said. I changed the subject and told him about the Red-Bellied woodpecker that has been occupying a wooden bird house on a pine tree next to my driveway. Earlier this year an Eastern Screech Owl had nested there. Now it appeared that the Woodpecker was taking a turn. He seemed happy to hear that news. “Ohhh good good.” He said happily. I finally remembered that I had brought him a small photo book of some of pictures I had taken this year and we flipped through it. I gave him a little background on all of the martins that I had photographed. The young momma with the bald neck, the ASY male with the bad attitude. The first pairs initial squabbles over which nest they would ultimately settle on. He seemed to enjoy it and it reminded him of individual birds that he would recognize in his own colony. I left it with him and said my good byes and realized that even the tiniest moments are a treasure. What Jose would not have done to be sitting on his chair in his own backyard with a sky full of Purple Martins swirling above him.

Technorati Profile

Invasive Species-Not just for the Birds

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

I was partly amused at a story I saw on CNN this morning. Apparently the European Red squirrel is being seriously threatened by America’s larger more aggressive Grey squirrel. The red squirrels are trying to wage a comeback with the help of active conservationists who are trapping and euthanizing the American squirrels. I am sure at some point a rich American will probably spend millions of dollars to have trapped grey squirrels returned to the USA to be repatriated to their native soil.

 I have written about North America’s plight against European invaders such as Sparrows and Starlings. The fight is not for the faint of heart and I am sure that it may seem cruel to some. One thing must be kept in mind. In 50 years, if nothing was ever done to control Sparrows and Starlings here…or grey squirrels in England-our native species would be urban legends. Much like the Dodo bird whose extinction was sealed when cats and dogs (among a few) were introduced to the island of Mauritius. These animals decimated the native populations of Dodos and though they did not compete with the Dodo’s, they did directly cause their demise. So, even though the squirrels in Europe and the cavity nesters in the America’s are being pushed out by direct competition by direct relatives, those related species were introduced by us. Lets not tell our Grandchildren WE were directly responsible, by our INaction to the fall of any animal. Just as we would rise up against a neighborhood bully to protect the weaker kid on the block, let us protect the weak-as God would have us do.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com