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Re: [OM] Masked Bandit caught in the act...

Subject: Re: [OM] Masked Bandit caught in the act...
From: Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:58:33 -0700
On 6/30/2015 12:25 PM, Mike Lazzari wrote:
We are in the midst of one of the very few mass extinctions in the history of the planet and the first directly attributable to one species.

Wellll, not really. The fossil record shows that the mega-fauna were largely wiped out the moment Homo Sapiens appeared on any new continent or large island. Mass extinctions attributable to our one species have been relatively common. Not suggesting that this is a good thing, nor that we shouldn't change our ways, only that there are facts beyond the "first" you propose.

We need to change this attitude or risk following the other species down the 
black hole.

A common argument, and one I find hard to evaluate. Yes, personally, I like having a wide diversity of species of plants and animals. I think it makes the world a better place than it would otherwise be. I spend a lot of time out doors in semi wild to entirely natural places, and enjoy it immensely. Nevertheless, it's not clear to me that a drastic extinction of many of these species would seriously endanger the survival of humans. It smacks of scare tactics, and I don't like that.

You might enjoy the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. Well written, with some hard looks at our history and nature, saying things I've often thought need to be said, and that I imagine you may agree with. I've bogged down in the later part, where he gets into economics, but found the first three sections riveting, and will get back to it.

One point among so many that seems apropos here is his suggestion that the hunter-gatherer phase of our history may be our golden age of quality of life, That once grains domesticated us, we thrived in numbers, living much less enjoyable and natural and healthy lives. (The origin of the stories of Edens?) He is, of course talking globally and generally, perhaps not for many here, including myself, who live amazingly enjoyable, long, safe, healthy lives in pockets of privilege.

By extension, I think it possible, not desirable, that a mass extinction of other species will probably not wipe us out, just make our lives more miserable - or not.


Well, maybe not a total solution but it will help and you will get the "wildlife channel" on steroids. Most home landscapes are ecological wastelands that encourage "weed species". Just look at the burgeoning populations of some ungulates . Plant native wildlife friendly shrubbery etc. and provide water. Certain species flock to the crab apple, others like the hawthorne, etc. The foliage deters the predators, at least makes them work for it. And the raccoons go fight over the compost pile. Man they can make blood curdling screams.

They also have amazing family arguments, sounding at a distance like a human 
family going at it.

Back to your point. I live in a huge urban area. Little about it is natural habitat for anything. Sure, there's a fair amount of the Bay left, and ex salt ponds returning to salt marsh, and quite a bit of protected open space. But, especially in the built up areas, nothing is like what was here before us, nor likely to be in the future. And yet, especially in those enclaves like the one where I live, there is lots of vegetation, some even native :-) , and a very wide range of fauna that have adapted to living side by side with us.

I just don't believe that a couple of bird feeders, kept clean, with feed and set-up that doesn't encourage mammals, are harmful in that context. (Up on a solid section of deck, so food doesn't fall below, spill is promptly cleaned up by Tohees, Juncos, Chicadees and other primary or secondary ground feeders.) You are, of course, free to disagree.

As to continuity, I've been doing this for at least a couple of decades, likely will for 2-3 more. How many generations of birds is that? If the free food then stops, how is that different than a local natural change, landslide, watercourse change, volcano, and the other natural occurrences that change food availability?

The natural world is amazingly adaptable. When the lawsuit was won that mandated returned flows to the Owens river on the east side of our Sierras, there was celebration of the victory and dire prediction of how many generations it would take to recover. Guess, what, WAY less than one.

Yes, we should be doing all we can to avoid creating further mass extinctions. And bird feeders in urban areas are way down on the list if legitimately there at all.

Moose D'Opinion

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