Posts Tagged ‘Ducks’

Eat more squirrel?

May 27, 2008

The latest “ethical” food in England is squirrel. That’s right, those fuzzy-tailed little rodents that scurry about your yard. Of course, Southerners have always eaten squirrels. It was a part of our food pyramid, and we didn’t give it up until we could afford hamburger.

Rural Southern families always have depended on the family sharpshooter to furnish a little alternative meat for the family table: squirrels, rabbits, possums, quail and other wild game. When the South finally caught up financially with the rest of the nation, we turned to beef, lamb, etc. If wild game is involved in Southern meals today, it is likely duck or deer meat. But there are those who still enjoy an occasional squirrel or rabbit, and certainly quail is always a treat.

On my visits to the backcountry of England, I have observed rabbit hutches in most backyards, but it seems that squirrel meat has caught the English fancy, and the rodent meat is in much demand, according to recent articles in British newspapers.

One newspaper account reports that squirrels are “low in fat, low in food miles and completely free range.” In other words, “environmentally friendly.” Some Brits claim that, “The grey squirrel is about as ethical a dish as it is possible to serve.” Hunters provide the meat to butcher shops, and the shop owners say they can’t get enough to satiate the hunger for the meat. British women even exchange squirrel recipes.

Click here for the full article.

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Flock of birds in toxic trouble on oilsands tailings pond

May 2, 2008

The Alberta government is investigating why mandatory deterrents failed to prevent 500 migrating birds from landing on a toxic tailings pond used in oilsands development north of Fort McMurray.

While the health of the entire flock isn’t yet known, several birds – most likely ducks – are heavily covered in oil, the province revealed Tuesday. The birds remain stuck in the oil-slick pond, which is partially frozen. It’s unlikely many will survive, the province said.

“This is a tragedy. This is unacceptable,” Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said at the legislature Tuesday. The province was alerted to the incident at Syncrude’s Aurora North Site mine facility by a tipster on Monday night.

About 20 birds die a year in northern Alberta’s tailings ponds, the province said. Never has the government encountered such a large number of impacted birds, Renner added. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development workers are currently at the oilsands facility to ensure more birds don’t land in the tailings pond.

Click here for the full article.

Court orders 6-month ban on bird feed for suburban couple, citing it as a “health risk”

April 4, 2008

I’m very saddened to read about people being ordered to stop feeding animals in their own backyard. If this couple were feeding foxes and cougars and bears and crocodiles etc., I would agree that they should cease and desist, because such animals are threats to humans if they become too used to people. But they’re feeding birds and possums and raccoons, animals that are about as dangerous as domestic pets unless you mess with them.

Also, this article says that the neighborhood was “plagued” by raccoons. Plagued? Raccoons aren’t a plague! A troop of raccoons has been eating the cat food at my parent’s house for years (a house in the middle of the suburbs, close to downtown), and they have never caused us or our neighbors any trouble, beyond a slight increase in cat food expenses. We also have possums that eat our cat food, and they are even less noticeable than the raccoons. The cats don’t mind either groups of guests. All the animals just mind their own business and everyone is fine. My parents enjoy watching the raccoons and all the other critters.

As for the ducks – I know a lot of folks dislike ducks because they defecate all over nicely trimmed lawns, etc. Can’t you just look at it as free fertilizer? And the bread scraps in the bowl – maybe that isn’t an ideal way to feed birds, according to official bird-feeding guidelines (although, judging from my past experiences feeding bread to ducks and geese, I suspect the birds would disagree), but it surely isn’t so offensive as to negate all bird-feeding privileges.

We do share the planet with other species, you know. Let’s all get along, relax, and not be so uptight and germiphobic and animalphobic.

Oh yeah, feel free to argue with me, if you want (nicely!). I’d like to hear dissenting opinions, too.

-Kitty Mowmow

Halina and Richard Rogulski said they just wanted to enjoy the freedom of watching birds feed outside their Prospect Heights home.

But on Thursday, they emptied their five feeders and agreed to comply with a six-month ban on putting out birdseed—an order from a Cook County judge who ruled against them in a neighborhood dispute.

“I was born in communist Russia, and in Russia, there was no freedom to pray . . . but not the birds. We could feed the birds,” said Halina Rogulski, 73, a Polish immigrant who came to the United States after spending three years as a child in a German labor camp during World War II.

Neighbors John and Alice Gornick had complained the Rogulskis’ feeders, as well as the dish of bird food and bread that was put out for ducks, was a health hazard because it attracted too many birds and raccoons, opossums and other critters.

Click here for the full article.

UK: Anger as Royal Society for the Protection of Birds allows bird shoots on its land

January 13, 2008

bird-hunter.jpg

Britain’s foremost bird charity has been branded “disgusting” – for allowing ducks and geese to be shot on one of its nature reserves.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) hands out shooting licences on its land at Langstone Harbour, near Portsmouth, Hampshire – where wildfowlers kill up to ten birds a day for sport.

The shooting has been allowed since 1979 but was revealed publicly only when a pellet-riddled duck carcass was found by a walker.

Click here to read the full article.