Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I am going to continue writing for my own benefit of impressions and expressions about birds. There is more creativity in a single flying bird than any and all human invention. We should not be dishonest and doubt this. One of our huge dishonesty's: to think and say that any time we somehow get off the ground literally, then we are "flying". We use the word all the time to denote what we really cannot do physically at all without the help of one of our many "flying" inventions, of which we put ourselves in or use to give us the semblance of really being able to fly. But deep down, we envy this ability in birds and we show it daily in our words. To doubt this is to be an unrepentant hypocrite. We simply want the ability but do not care to entertain the thought of not having it. And so we continue the battle within.
Birds here at my lakeside home are in battle too, with each other. And my choice is to decide which one of two species must win. I must be honest. I find it impossible to tolerate an imbalance of nature humans have made worse by ignoring the problem of bird battles between native species and invasive non-natives. What am I referring to?
For now, high up our massive and tall Weeping willow tree at lake's edge, there are European starlings wanting to take over the previously made nest cavities of other native species, like woodpeckers. The starlings are relentless harassers of any other species they want to get out of these nesting sites. Here at Hidden Lake, it is the battle of starlings versus a Red-bellied woodpecker pair that are creating their nest site on the underside of one decaying willow branch facing down over our deck. The female red-bellied has been continuing to excavate her nest and throw out the chips down onto the deck I might add. She will be laying eggs soon. The male is in close attendance and guards the nest entrance and general area around it. Any squirrel coming up the tree gets attacked by both. But the starlings come in numbers to harass and to drive out the more beautiful residents.
For all of you who do not know this already, the European starling is now one of the most numerous birds in North America. Why? For one, they can adapt their nest site requirements to any size and shape cavity they can fit into from the inner city to the most rural countryside. They nest early in spring and continue nesting repeatedly throughout summer.
I have seen them nesting in abandoned vehicle engine compartments, in city and town light poles of every description, in the legs of playground equipment; the list goes on and on. This presents a terrible problem to try and control. Can you imagine city and school and park maintenance workers going around all day long attempting to get rid of them? It's not going to happen any time soon.
But it should, if we really care about protecting the populations of our native birds. This is one bird battle our natives are not going to win at all, sheer numbers of their enemies are going to overpower their abilities to battle back. Just remember this next time you have your fancy car at a traffic light and see black and yellow-billed starlings singing on top of a neighboring light pole or other invention of ours. We created the problem for our own birds and too precious little is being done about it from bird-loving people and the few bird organizations spending their time and dollars on less important issues. Foreign intruders are winning the day and almost all the battles. We should be up in arms about it and taking this battle of birds to the enemy.