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Fast-paced human lifestyle has negative consequences for wildlife

Posted 13 May 2019 at 8:10 am

Editor:

When writing about things which really smoke your grits, knowing most people don’t seem to genuinely care about the elderly, our endangered Republic, and/or defenseless wildlife—among others—it can get to one’s “noggin”.

Today, I am focusing on avian victims of speed. Speed kills. It kills birds, reptiles, amphibians, and other “lesser” forms of life, just as it does human beings. Can we afford it?

A handful of your readers know that I earlier reported that several years ago a single vehicle likely killed six young tree swallows in one pass while they mourned what was probably their dead mother while they surrounded her near the side of a “country” road.

As I noted about a year ago, North American Bluebird Society President, Bernie Daniel, needed to be told by this “local yokel” three times that a common gallinule was evidently killed by a vehicle not far from our house. It was sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. An incredulous Mr. Daniel told me that the only common gallinule he had ever seen was in Costa Rica.  A Cincinnati-area resident, Daniel also expressed surprise that Orleans County had a fair number of American kestrels, though their numbers appear to have dropped off this year. (For wind turbine advocates, kestrels are cavity nesters, and more turbines will mean fewer of the cavities kestrels and screech owls—among many other birds—require for reproduction.)

Though you are correct, I did not see it, the gallinule mentioned above was almost certainly killed by a vehicle. And it is true that birds are killed by vehicles obeying the speed limits quite often.

While walking our shi-poo, “Tucker”, today, my attention was called to a song sparrow (a native sparrow named for its delightful singing) that had been killed earlier. Did I see a vehicle collide with it? No, I did not, but it, too, is headed to Sapsucker Woods.

Neither did I see the vehicles that snuffed out numerous other native song birds, birds of prey, and even game birds, during my 74-plus years. But it happens a lot. And the faster we drive, the more likely it is to happen.

The faster we do most things—such as mow the grass—the more innocents get killed as a result. In my view, those who are in the biggest hurry to get there (or “git ‘er done”), ordinarily have the least idea of where they are going (or what they are doing).

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

Albion