Killing Two Birds With One . . .
The poor California condors. All 135 of them. First, they’re driven to the brink of extinction by, well, us (via pesticides, hunting, and development). And now, the colossal birds, with wingspans of up to 9 feet, are dying from lead poisoning.
Where’s the lead coming from, you ask?
Uh, that would be us. Again.
The behemoths are, shall we say, not vegetarians. Unfortunately, the carcasses they eat often became carcasses by being shot by a hunter. The lead in the ammunition contaminates the carcass, and, presto, two birds can be killed with one . . . bullet.
See what happens when you eat meat?
Advocates for the condor, in addition to the Natural Resources Defense Council and several other groups, have filed suit to use nonlead ammunition, and the Department of Fish and Game is considering changing hunting regulations by next spring.
In a similar story, sort of, right here in Palm Beach County, we have, and I kid you not, Marvin the Falcon, who lives on the courthouse roof in West Palm Beach. Everyone loves Marvin and thinks the’s the bomb. Good news, right?
Ah, but all is not as it appears.
Marvin, a peregrine falcon, feasts on the local pigeons. But the city has been trying to decrease the population of pesky pigeons for a decade by . . . feeding them corn kernels laced with Avitrol, a hallucinogenic drug that causes the birds to become significantly distressed, convulse, and usually die. Please read the product label for Avitrol, which has been banned in many cities, and direct anyone who says it doesn’t harm the pigeons to read it, as well. It begins with:
Avitrol is a poison . . . Birds that react and alarm a flock usually die.
Guess what everyone’s worried about? The pigeons dying? Wrong answer. Everyone’s in a snit that Marvin might eat an Avitrol-contaminated pigeon and get hurt: that we might be killing two birds with one . . . corn kernel.
Why is it that some animals are worthy of so much of our concern that we sacrifice other animals because of our affection for them?