Monday, July 09, 2007

Blakeman responds and so do many others, with a small sampling included

John Blakeman sent in a quick response to my recent question:

I'm sorry for somehow conveying the thought that marauding Cooper's hawks (or any others) should be killed. I didn't intend any such thoughts.
Let's make this very clear. All raptor species are strictly protected by both state and federal laws. No one is permitted to trap or kill a wild hawk, period.
In fact, it's illegal to even pick up a hawk feather found on the ground. That's an illegal possession of a protected bird part. Let's get this straight. Hawks and all raptors are thoroughly protected by state and federal laws. The days when citizens could arbitrarily shoot a hawk out of the sky, or put up a pole trap and snap a pair of metal jaws on a hawk's feet are ancient matters from the last century.
Yes, the matter involves the "control" of nature. The feeding of birds at feeding stations is about as unnatural as can be. But that's a personal matter, and it's not illegal. There is evidence that mourning doves and cardinals have proliferated in northern states because of bird feeding. In Ohio, cardinals were seldom if ever seen here in the winters of the 19th century. Bird feeding may have changed that.
Rather frequently I get a phone call from some local resident asking if I'm the "hawk man." The person wants to know what can be done about a Cooper's hawk that is killing birds around the caller's feeding station. I courteously reply that nothing can be done other than to stop feeding the birds, allowing them to disperse. But I always thank the caller for feeding all of the birds, including the local Cooper's hawk.
It's curious how Cooper's hawks were once a universally admired species, back 30 years ago when they were only rural and infrequent. Today, a great number of urban bird feeders, who have personally witnessed the hawk's depredations, no longer admire the species.
Nevertheless, the hawk is totally protected, as it should be.

John A. Blakeman

And here are two of the many responses [all of the same persuasion as the ones below] that came in about the "I want to kill that redtail" person:

Bill Trankle of Indianapolis, IN writes:
The Coopers hawk(s) who patrol my yard keep things interesting to be sure, and while I have noted a drastically decreased utilization of my feeders (especially in the afternoons) I cannot say I hate them. It's all part of a balance out of which humans long ago fell, leading to our distaste for that which we cannot dictate.

Robin (from cyberspace) writes:
I have my bird feeders hanging in a fully grown tree which helps to prevent a stoop and kill from above (even in seasons when the tree is bare) and the feeder birds are very aware of their surroundings and react in the blink of an eye to potential threats. 15 years ago I planted a dozen arbor vitae around my small yard. They are huge now. I have my birdbaths set right next to the dense big evergreens. I have dense ivy climbing up the supports to my patio and the songbirds build their nests deep in the ivy (usually ignoring the many bird houses I have hanging nearby, under the patio roof).

At the slightest disturbance - someone walking down the sidewalk, a crow overhead, a cell phone ringing - the birds flee instantly to the dense natural shelters.

I think the bluebird writer might look for ways to naturally protect the bluebirds instead of doing the typically human thing and killing things that get in the way of our intentions.