Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Natural Selection

Ever since I saw my first hawk tear through my back yard and catch one of my little feeder birds, I've been wrestling with what I will call a moral dilemma over the whole thing.

I know that it is Nature working her course for the hawk to eat the smaller birds, but is it wrong for me to knowingly lure birds to an area where they might be preyed upon?

I cried for probably an hour after witnessing my first hawk strike. The next time, I didn't cry. My neighborhood hawk wouldn't starve that day, and there's something good to be said for that. Still, I wrestled with the right and wrong of it all.

I read something today on the blog Bill of the Birds that looks at the issue from an angle I hadn't thought of. A hawk has been visiting his feeders, and here is his take on it:

I love having this bird around. He's keeping our birds on their toes and keeping their populations healthy by weeding out the slow, sick, and weak.

I guess it's like Darwinism, in real life. Natural selection always made sense to me, so why would it not apply here?

Still, it's hard to see a cute little bird die in such gruesome fashion. I think I'd like for the whole process of natural selection to continue on its way, but not while I'm watching.

1 comment:

dguzman said...

Hey, thanks for coming by my birdy blog, and wow you have a beautiful blog!

I too struggle with this question of life, death, predation, and control. I agreed with Bill's perception that the weaker birds (or at least the dreamier ones) would get culled and the species would be better for it.

Still, I've watched a Cooper's eating a mourning dove, and--well, I didn't cry, but I was pretty freaked out. Although I was not to freaked out to take pictures, it was still pretty tough to take.