Friday, July 20, 2007

A wing and a preyer

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has what they call "Nature Nights", which are family-oriented evening nature presentations. This one featured Last Chance Forever, a group devoted to rescuing and preserving birds of prey (raptors). It was a pretty good talk and demonstration (especially since the target audience was about 6 years old), and of course it's a good cause. The speaker (presumably the guy running the organization) mixed in more religion in his talk than I'd rather hear, especially being taught to kids. It's kind of like if a doctor is performing some procedure, and gets starts chanting and waving incense around. Whoa Nelly!!! Mentioning a Creator in a science-related talk is borderline (I can easily overlook that), but when you mention that animals think and feel emotion, you can't also suggest to people that birds have a soul and an afterlife. Also, there was a "dominionist" flavor in suggesting that humans were put here to be stewards and caretakers of the earth. If someone out there divinely gave humans this job, it was either a VERY bad choice and a mistake... or... it's time for the Big Guy to fire us and give the task to some other critter because humans could not have done a more piss-poor job caring for this planet than they have done. That's MY opinion, which in this case, is worth as much as his.

I also got a mixed message when he said that he told his wife that she should have no fear of cockroaches, and that if she sees one on the wall she should just step up there and smash it instead of being afraid. THEN, with his very next breath, he tells us that we should not practice species-ism (a sentiment I strongly agree with) in hating and often killing -- for no reason -- certain animals because we think they are ugly, strange, otherwise distasteful, or just for being there.

HUH??? Dude, you just contradicted yourself. You confused me and probably confused the kids too. Plus you just told us a minute ago that cockroaches are not only food for birds, but they help decompose stuff so it can become dirt and go back to nature... and that they are harmless and beneficial. Later in the program he says that killing for any reason other than for food (or survival) is murder. So I hope his wife enjoys eating cockroaches.

But, all snarkiness aside, this group is doing some very good work and has some good messages about cohabitating on this earth as a fellow animal, and this Bald Eagle is part of that. A family built its new house in an undeveloped area where this eagle and its mate lived and hunted. The family moved in and placed their small dog in the backyard, where it was presumably taken by a predator. They got a new little dog, put it in the backyard, and when the man saw this eagle, he shot it as a preventive measure, hitting it in the wing. It lived but will never fly again. When authorities asked him if he had shot it, he denied it, first blaming it on some buddies (...with friends like him... who needs enemies?), then continuing to deny it until his wife and children told him they would not lie for him anymore (not to mention the ballistics evidence that was found). The rescue organization, using this eagle for an example, wanted to make the point that this man built his house in the eagle's habitat. We humans (as fellow animals) need to try to be better neighbors with the other creatures, especially when we take away their habitat to create ours.

Other birds shown in the presentation were hawks, falcons, and vultures, and the unbearably cute little screech owl.

Next week at the Nature Nights: SNAKES!!!! Slither and Slide!


Peacechick Mary said...

That would be a facinating tour, although I admit I wouldn't care for the Christian missionary chatter either. Wonder if the man wrote his own script or that was handed to him. The owl is one of my favorites ever since I met one nose to nose while traipsing through a forest one day. Peace.

muffinmidi said...

I believe in God and I believe that animals have souls but no cockroach survives around me. I know there's a contradiction in there, and I don't care.They are diasgusting, disease-breeding bugs and I don't mind smashing them.
Speaking of disgusting, George Bush is having a colonoscopy. This will be the first time in five years that he's had something besides his head up his ass.
Also, I left a comment on your entry about that job you had.What's your e-mail?

Blueberry said...

Religious beliefs are fine, I just thought they should not have been included in this particular talk directed at children. Those kids are looking up to the speaker as someone giving them 100% facts.

Lynn@ZelleBlog said...

They often see it as "fact".

We have a raptor center and some places with animal presentations, and
for some reason I cannot get over the vision these birds have!

Michael Bains said...

I wonder if that presenter's wife has found any recipes for cockroach on the internets..? {shakin'head} {-; It does sound like it was a cool night, though. Even with his delusions being spewed.

Glad they busted the whack-job who shot the eagle. What the . . ?

Mando Mama said...

Wow, it sounds like a great night but it sure woulda concerned me to hear that guy go on the way he did. Eek.