[Tweeters] Hawk Owl Carcass

Carol Riddell cariddellwa at gmail.com
Sun Jan 10 10:00:38 PST 2016

Hi Roger and Tweeters,

In other circumstances, retrieving the carcass for one of the museum collections would be a good idea, as long as retrieval is compliant with federal and state wildlife laws. However, in this instance, the carcass may be evidence of a crime and should only be retrieved by wildlife law enforcement officers so that a chain of custody can be preserved for a possible prosecution.

Enjoying wildlife from a public road, as long as egress or any traffic law is not obstructed, is legal and ethical. If the property owner shot and killed the Northern Hawk Owl, he is to blame—not birders. I can empathize with his stated distress at having that quiet road suddenly get a lot of attention. I would not like it either. But we are social creatures. We are 7 million in this state and 350 million in this country. At time we are all going to encounter human activity that is legal but that we don’t like. That said, it never justifies criminal behavior, if that is what occurred. Birders did not love the owl to death. A human being apparently killed it. That is on the shooter, not on birders, even if one birder or one bird photographer trespassed. There were many, many options short of killing a protected species. Violent behavior is a noted propensity of people, but it is unpredictable as to any specific event. We are a civilized society. Birders would have expected a civilized resolution to any problem.

Carol Riddell

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