The Good, the Bad, and Sadly More Bad
I hate to do this but we’ll start with the bad…and the more bad. In just one day I had people from two different reaches of the north country sending me stories about bird shootings. And I’m not talking about hunting. They came in quick succession and immediately I thought REALLY? Really, folks are we really shooting eagles and loons?
Here’s the skinny with a few links for you to explore…
Earlier this week, just outside the Adirondack Park, a Bald Eagle was shot dead on the Oswegatchie River near Heuvelton, NY. The eagle had been feeding on a deer carcass on Tuesday and was found dead on Wednesday.
In Enfield, NH necropsy results came in from Tufts University on an immature Common Loon that was found dead late this fall on a trail on Mascoma Lake. Results showed that the loon had not only been shot once but twice. Once in the wing, which had healed but rendered the bird unable to fly and then in the head.
As it stands right now the DEC in New York is looking for any information on the shooting of the eagle and there was no indication in the article of an investigation in New Hampshire.
I can only guess why these birds were shot…maybe it was accidental, maybe it was for fun but there is also another potential reason. And in a way, this is an issue like outdoor cats eating songbirds. It’s a touchy but needs to be talked about.
Both these species of birds are fish eaters. And, unfortunately there are some folks in the recreational fishing community that see these birds and others as direct competition for “their” sport fish.
I guess it just makes me think a little about my own love for birding and wildlife watching…my passion. Just like some folks are very passionate about fishing. However, I don’t destroy that which competes with my enjoyment of watching birds. I come from a family that hunts and fishes so I’m not blind to the culture. And obviously this is not how all recreational fishing people feel about birds that eat fish and even if they do, they don’t all behave this way. I guess what I want to understand in order to keep this from happening in the future is, where is the disconnect here? What do you think was going on in that person’s mind who raised the gun at that eagle or that loon, took a deep breath and pulled the trigger? And…is there any hope of changing their perspective?
Okay, now to the GOOD! A story from Lake Champlain near the Sandbar State Park in Vermont…two skaters, Bob and Phelps, rescued a Common Loon that had apparently mistook the clear, black ice for water and got stranded. The skaters made a few calls to Fish & Wildlife and also a local bird rehabilitator, and got the go ahead to rescue the bird and return it to open water. Click for pictures and to enjoy the video of the rescue!