[Tweeters] From the Fill
constancesidles at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 05:24:55 PDT 2015
Hey tweets, an American Bittern has been hanging out at Main Pond lately, much to everyone's surprise. It isn't always there, of course, but has also been seen bopping around cattail areas on the west and east sides of the Fill. Maybe there's more than one?? According to Higby and Larrison (the authors of "Union Bay: Life of a City Marsh"), bitterns were thick on the ground back in the 1940s. Oh to have been a birder back then.
I spent Saturday staffing a table at "Birds at the Burke," the Burke Museum's annual bird event. They had one table with skins of extinct birds: an Ivory-billed female and a male; a Carolina Parakeet; and a Passenger Pigeon. It was the first time I have ever seen skins of these birds. The emotions I felt as I looked at them completely mix-mastered me. I was thrilled to see what they really looked like as living (well, formerly living) creatures, instead of as pictures in a book. I was hurt that they no longer live among us. Hopeful that maybe someday science can clone them back to life, nutty as that might be. Despairing that we continue to put our needs above those of wildlife, even when our needs might be trivial ones for our own convenience or entertainment. Grateful that we still have Pileated Woodpeckers and Band-tailed Pigeons to delight us. Weighed down by the responsiblity we have for future generations, to do all we can to preserve the wild for them.
I have been thinking lately about how one person can do anything in light of global trends. I watched the YouTube documentary "Human", a documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand in which one person after another speaks about what it means to be human. One of the most poignant is a desperately poor man from Africa who says he will define poverty. He proceeds to do so by saying poverty is when you have to go to school but you can't. When you have to eat but you can't. When your family suffers and you can't get them out of it. He asks, "You rich people who listen to me, what do you have to say about your wealth?"
I am not a rich person by American standards, but I am almost unimaginably rich by the world's standards. A South African priest told me that the poorest people in America is wealthy compared to most of the rest of the world. Somehow that question - what do you have to say about your wealth? - was the same question I have asked myself about preserving wild nature. What does a rich person like me have to say about my personal responsiblity to help the environment? Do I even have any personal responsibility, considering I am one among 7.3 billion others? If I turn down my thermostat in winter to 69 degrees, will that do anything to reduce global climate change? But if I don't turn down my thermostat, what does that say about my wealth?
Each of us must come up with our own answers to this question. Mine is to act as forcefully and as fully as I can locally, and to try as best I can to influence more numerous ordinary folks, as well as more powerful people, to help the world.
Here goes my latest: Please weigh in on the survey Seattle Parks & Recreation has put out regarding their future strategic plan to deal with dogs in parks. The survey takes about 2 minutes and is a chance for birders to register our opposition to off-leash dogs in any parks except designated dog parks. Here is the link, courtesy of Henry Noble:
> Please consider signing up to express your views about dogs off leash in the Seattle Parks. So far, the off-leash dog owners are in the majority.
- Connie, Seattle
constancesidles at gmail.com <mailto:constancesidles at gmail.com>
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