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Birdchick Podcast #32: Heron Rookery, Birding as Exercise and Big Year

Birding News:

All the heron rookery stuff.

Someone thinks birding is a good hobby for exercise and getting fit.  Not.

National Zoo researcher Nico Dauphine arrested on suspicious of poisoning non native feral cats to protect native wild birds.

I found this publicity still from the upcoming Big Year movie.  It looks like Steve Martin has Swarovksi binoculars, Owen Wilson has Zeiss…but what brand is Jack Black toting?  There’s been a debate on my Facebook page and it looks like he’s packing Kowa binoculars.

In other news, Ontario Nature and Ecojustice, two independent environmental organizations, launched a precedent-setting case against Menkes Developments, the owners of Consilium Place, which could lead to big fines for using reflective windows that they allege has caused the death or injury of some 800 migratory birds over a nine-month stretch between 2008 and 2009.

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4 comments to Birdchick Podcast #32: Heron Rookery, Birding as Exercise and Big Year

  • Shannon

    I looked at the article you posted about the poisoned feral cats. And I guess for the record I’m a cat owner, although I’m pro-indoor cat just because indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats by a significant margin (seriously folks, just ask your vet. I have two “senior” cats that don’t look or act like seniors, thanks to the health benefits of indoor living).
    As you say, if she’s guilty it’s really a matter of the law. I do think it’s both cruel and crazy to go out of your way to poison feral cats, when a city the size of Washington DC surely has an animal control division. The right thing to do is to report it and leave it in their hands.
    As for the alley cat advocacy group (really?) that is going after her, I can only say that if they were in my city, I’d vote for whatever you have to vote for to get rid of them. Feral cats are largely considered pests, especially in large urban areas. Even though I love my cats very much, I have no problem with animal control coming out to my apartment and collecting feral cats that live out of dumpsters – they spread disease. It’s a public health issue.
    My perspective on this is that public opinion will likely fall somewhere in the middle of these two very extreme arguments – you shouldn’t take it upon yourself to poison cats because that is cruel, but also nobody wants colonies of alley cats roaming all over the city.

  • I agree that poisoning cats is not the solution to this problem. And if this is true and the student is guilty, I can see how if she’s in the middle of all this research about the damage feral cat colonies do to wild bird populations that she might be pushed to wage her own battle.

    This really isn’t an easy issue. It seems to me that feral cat advocacy groups want it both ways with feral cats. They want them to be both wildlife and pets. Clear laws need to be established that they are one or the other and managed as such.

    I enjoy cats and if it weren’t for allergies we’d have them and it’s a shame that irresponsible pet owners are forcing an unfortunate battle to wage between cat lovers and wild bird lovers. If people weren’t dropping them off to feral cat colonies, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

  • I was just in Ontario birding (Point Pelee of course)… I had no idea such a thing was happening. I’m wondering if I can glean anything from this article about what to encourage my alma mater to do. My partner has been doing a photography project called Useless Creatures (link below), and when she was just beginning with it, we noticed a lot of dead birds around the art building at school. She documented some of them, and we started talking with a member of the faculty about it, but we never did get around to doing anything about it before graduating (other than some public art on the matter- we posted large photos of the dead birds inside the building with macro commentary.. heh). However, I’m returning to the school this fall for a second degree, and I think I’d like to pursue this issue again. So thanks for posting that.. it’s both motivation and inspiration.

    photo of the building- can you see why it’s a problem? http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3187/2676799443_9115f5c10b.jpg
    One of her posts on the matter, with photo evidence of the issue- featuring a brown creeper and a chickadee. http://jorieobrien.blogspot.com/2010/04/week-of-birds.html

  • FYI, Washington Humane Society is in charge of cat complaints in DC. They do not accept feral cats nor do they provide traps. They advise residents to do Trap-Neuter-Release. I’m so glad it’s different in my county. Can you imagine landscaping your yard for wildlife and then being told, “I’m sorry, we can’t allow you to remove the cat that is stalking the wildlife in your yard. We advise you to trap it, neuter it, and then re-release into your yard”. But, that is what is beginning to happen in many areas of the country. These groups have very large lobbying arms, and are being unusually successful in changing state, city and county laws to prevent trap and remove from continuing. It’s even happening in Texas of all places.