Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humans vs. Nature in the city of St. Paul

About a month ago, my husband and I were driving along a quiet residential street in the middle of the city, just a block west of busy Snelling Ave., when we saw a small hawk on the ground, in the middle of the street, grasping a starling in its talons. As our car drew closer, the hawk took off and accidentally dropped the starling. We were sure the starling was dead, but to our amazement it seemed to gather its wits, then also flew away.

I was thrilled that we had saved the smaller bird's life, but my husband pointed out that by doing so, we had stolen what could have been a vital meal for the hawk. (It was frigid outside then.) And besides, he added, it was only a starling.

Now I'm in a quandary. Obviously I want hawks to survive. I'm thrilled whenever I see any raptor, and find it even more incredible when I see one in such a populated area, let alone so close to home. Yet I love the cheerful babble of starlings, despite their reputation. And mainly, they're both living beings.

So should I instead have been rooting for the hawk? I know we interrupted nature from taking its course, but I'd have been devastated if we had run over either of them. That’s my human nature.

Then again, if I'd been watching this in the wild on the Discovery Channel, instead of on the city cement right in front of me, it's possible I would have reacted differently. So apparently it was the location that elicited my reaction.

Now my brain is still in a turmoil. Please, could I get some feedback from you?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Maureen said...

Hello Darlene! I'm so pleased to see you are blogging again - I've missed reading your posts!

I understand your confusion about your feelings concerning the hawk versus the starling. It's the natural order of things and yet it's also perfectly understandable that you wouldn't want to watch the starling get eaten.

However, I have witnessed a sparrowhawk in our back garden on two separate occasions when it was devouring a bird but crucially, I didn't actually see the capture and the kill, just the moment when the bird of prey was eating the bird. I'm sure I would have reacted differently if I'd had the opportunity to rescue the bird before it was killed and eaten, instead of watching (and dare I say, rather enjoying the gruesome spectacle) a beautiful bird of prey doing what it was meant to do.

3/30/2007 4:32 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Maureen, so fantastic hearing from you! I'm afraid I'll still be blogging sporadically for awhile yet, because I'm trying so hard to rewrite some of my short stories and send them in--to particular places that have time limits on when they're due. Also, I'm trying to write some articles to submit to paying magazines. Trouble is, I've been so busy, I don't have enough time as is.

What I really regret is that I haven't had time to visit your blog or those of my other blogging friends, but I'm so afraid I'm going to lose you!

As for watching the sparrowhawk, I'm pretty much like you--it helps if you don't actually see the capture and kill. But I admit that seeing birds of prey doing what they're meant to do is in its own way gratifying.

You might find this interesting: the next Republican National Convention is going to be held here in St. Paul, Minnesota, in Sept. 2008. Apparently there are a lot of pigeons downtown (but not as bad as in some of the major cities in other states). To help reduce their "glop" on the skyway ledges and sidewalks, city officials are planning to lure the pigeons to new nesting grounds and then steal their eggs. Painting the rooftops of existing buildings seems to deter the birds from going back to their current nests, which will then be destroyed.

The officials won't be doing this just for the aesthetics of the city. The droppings can transmit potentially deadly fungal diseases to humans if the material is inhaled. Also, the acidity of the droppings can damage the buildings.

P.S. I've been trying to post a comment on your site this afternoon and haven't been able to.

Take care, dear friend!

4/08/2007 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

That is very interesting about the pigeons. Did you know that during the Wimbledon tennis tournament, they hire a falconer with a Harris hawk to scare away the pigeons from the area? The Harris hawk is also used in other locations such as Trafalger Square and Westminster Abbey.

It sounds like you are very busy with your writing. I'm impressed! Good for you. I'm sure all your endeavors will soon be successful.

I'm sorry you had problems with my blog comments. It looks like it did work in the end though as I read your comment this evening.

Don't work too hard, Darlene!
Wishing you all the best regarding your writing career.

4/08/2007 4:04 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Wow, that's fascinating about the Harris hawk. Really appreciate your sharing that!

Also so glad you were able to delete my duplicate comments. Really bamboozled me when I saw that! And thanks for the support for my writing. I'm sure hoping it works...it's depressing getting rejection letters...yuck! xoxox

4/09/2007 4:47 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

Hi Darlene,
I thought I'd "lost you" then I found a link and presto! But I see you're busy with your writing...

I think a lot of us have a protective instinct that makes us root for the underdog - and that can be the predator if it's established as an endangered species (or is simply so rare in our own eyes as to seem precious and in need of protection), but can just as easily be whom-ever is about to be eaten!

animals killed under the wheels of the car are not visibly participating in the circle of life, but are 'senseless deaths.'

I say 'visibly participating' because, of course, nothing escapes the circle of life which is replete with scavengers and bacteria to take care of every eventuality. In this situation, of course, we are supporting/enhancing the rat population, which is a way of us interfering in natures balance that circles back and has bad effects on us. An interesting bit of active karma!

Hope your writing is going well!

4/21/2007 7:41 AM  

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