Sunday 17 June 2012

A great (touchy-feely) time for pigeons, Canada geese, beavers and other vermin.

U of T motto. (Hope the beaver doesn't
escape the escutcheon and fell their tree).
Life used to be tough for critters. They were trapped, shot,   eaten, and hunted for their pelts. Not any more. In these touchy-feely times of ours, you can’t defend your airspace from pigeons, or your trees from beavers, or your lawn from Canada geese shit.

You don’t want pigeons to gum up airplane engines? Tough. You don’t want your tennis game interrupted by a pigeon colliding with your ball? That’s what happened at the French Open, so they hired a falconer. But even falcons have gone touchy-feely. I quote the New Yorker: “Hup! Hup! Hup!” the falconer yelled to encourage his bird to pounce. The falcon, by name of Zyna, clearly didn’t have murder in her heart. Her boss had to swipe her, and even then it would only jump into the air, spooking the pigeons enough to back up twenty feet. Maybe it had nothing to do with touchy-feeling. Maybe it was a labour dispute. You can’t make your falcons work overtime. According to the New Yorker, the falconer was aware of the regulations. “It’s the bird’s decision,” he said.

In Canada, we use dogs to do our dirty work. You couldn’t walk the beach at Brighton, Ontario, for all the bird shit fouling up the water. The E. coli count was way up. Then they hired dogs – not to hunt down the geese -- Heaven forbid we should put the health of humans before that of the geese! No, they just wanted to teach the geese manners. This is Canada after all. We share and share alike. The dogs just keep the geese to their side of the beach.

My neighbours, meanwhile, are battling the resident beaver family which has made it their special project to turn the corn field into a pond. As National Geographic puts it, those beavers are good at “reengineering the landscape”. Bring on the trappers! No, wait, the touchy-feel people don’t want us to wear real fur. They want the beavers to re-engineer Ontario into a giant wetland, the ideal habitat for Canada Geese.

Then there are the folks who want to protect wolves because, you see, it’s a myth that they decimate the deer population. I quite believe those good people. Why should wolves bother to chase down elusive deer, when there are tasty calves standing around just waiting to be torn to pieces? No, indeed, wolves don’t affect the deer population, at least not the herd of deer in the Rummel backyard. I guess I shouldn’t begrudge them my apple and pear harvest, even if I thought it was a tad rude that they left me not a single pear. Unlike the geese in Brighton, they are not into sharing.

I wonder what would happen if I adopted the http://www.care2come/ model. These nice folks invite you to click on their site to generate donations for wolves. I invite you herewith to click on my site, Maybe I can make a deal with the deer in the Rummel backyard. For every ten clicks on “funny”, they leave me a pear.

The concept has potential, you must admit. What next? Sites for mosquitoes (ten clicks, and they won’t bite you in hard to scratch places)? Ants (ten clicks, and they’ll invade only foods you don’t like)? Mice (ten clicks, and you get to download the Great Howling Mouse app for free)?

If you ask me, the ideal solution would be genetically modified beavers that sprout faux fur and eat Canada Geese.

I'd report it here, for sure.

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  1. Don’t forget the aquatic species! I can’t even conduct a pumping test that would potentially put $millions into the coastal (Attawapiskat) economy and the taxman’s coffers because of some hardy minnows in a pond that freezes solid in winter. When the mine is finished there will be a great big pond for them! I hear more concerns about how long people’s jobs will last mining a finite resource than about where they are going to find bait for fishing.

    The environmental legacy of current and future mines has definitely changed toward the touchy-feely. Not even logically, sadly, just opposed because sprawling subdivisions is all “environmentalists” can relate to, not development of the north – strong and free. Get off the couch and focus on your own footprint. I know I prefer to hunt and get my own meat than buy it at an overpriced store and cover the cost of shipping.

    I see the pendulum swinging back the other way as of late though. Harper is spending $2 Billion on a bridge to Detroit and cutting back on fedral regulators and Environmental Assessment reviews. Hehe... whats the footprint for that, and who does it benefit? I guess it makes it easier for the subdivision-dwelling environmentalists to put food on the table!

  2. Your article is a joy to read even though I may be considered as one of those bleeding hearts who would glady never eat another pear on their lives to have the privilege to see deer in their backyard. I could argue that it isn't the animals invading our territory but us encroaching on theirs. To want to protect animals while keeping on destroying their habitat is a sad testimony to human stupidity. There are just too many of us.To get back to some kind of equilibrium I was hoping for a new sort of plague that would wipe out 1/3 of humanity. But AIDS didn't do it and obesity takes too long to kill. Do not worry, confronted with human relentless greed animals are sure to lose.

  3. Thanks for your comment. Sometimes I get carried away by the spirit of satire and may come across more ruthless than I am. Of course I agree with you: it would be nice to have a balanced world shared by all creatures. I think it's called Eden, and we have permanently been driven out.