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5 Things You Can Do To Make Wild Animals Hate You (That You Never Knew Were Cruel)

Most people love wild animals, especially when they visit your yard and let you have a flash of the wild from the comfort of your porch.

Unfortunately, a lot of the things that we do can end up hurting animals, even though we have the very best of intentions. Check out these five ways that you are being cruel when you try to be kind.

Feed Them (and Then Stop)

While feeding wild animals might seem like the best thing you can do to keep them happy and healthy, you need to remember that you are taking on a big responsibility. The animals may come to rely on you as a source of food, meaning that if you stop feeding them, they may have nowhere else to turn. This is especially harmful if the increased food supply has led to them having more babies than normal.

Use a Humane Trap (At the Wrong Time of Year)

Humane traps, such as those used in skunk relocation, are certainly a kind way to deal with nuisance animals, but only if you make sure not to use them during breeding seasons. If you time it wrong you could end up trapping a nursing mother. Even if you release her without moving her, the time that she spent in the trap and away from her babies could be a death sentence if they are very young. If you’re going to try skunk relocation, learn how to trap a skunk humanely first.

‘Rescue’ a Baby (When it Was Perfectly Fine)

Baby birds are piteous little creatures, and the sight of one out of its nest tugs at the heartstrings. The problem is, they often don’t need rescuing.

Baby birds leave the nest when they are learning to fly, and their parents continue to feed them while they are on the ground. When you ‘rescue’ the baby, all you are doing is moving it away from where the parents are coming to feed it. If the area is dangerous it is fine to move the bird onto a wall or under a bush, but otherwise, if the bird has feathers leave it alone. Birds that are obviously young can be put back in the nest if you can find it.

Feed Them (The Wrong Food)

Even if you only feed wild animals a small amount very occasionally, you can cause big problems if you feed them the wrong food. For example, bread and milk is definitely not suitable for hedgehogs and can make them quite sick. If you are going to feed wild animals make sure that you are leaving out something that will agree with their digestion.

Own a Cat (and Let it Outside)

Cats are hunters. It isn’t their fault, but it is in their nature. Cats kill countless birds, rodents and other small animals every day and have been implicated in the decline of songbird populations. At the very least, make sure your cat has a bell on its collar to give the animals the chance to get away.

Now that you know the effects of these practices, you can make sure that the effect that you have on your wild visitors is the one that you intended from the start.

Your next step should probably be learning more about skunk relocation or how to keep rabbits out of the garden humanely and safely, now that you know about wild animals. Post written by guest blogger Mike Ishman.

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No Flock of Seagulls, Crows Descend of San Francisco

By: Kamala Kelkar 

Mike Koozmin/Special to the Examiner
Mike Koozmin/Special to the Examiner

Amid the dark skies on a rainy day when observers set out to count birds in San Francisco, there was an ominous sign — a flock of about 27 crows.

The Golden Gate Audubon Society for the last 28 years has documented the numbers and types of birds in The City and on the Peninsula.

In the 1980s, crows and ravens were not even on the checklist of about 50 types of birds that more than 100 observers saw during the count. The once-rare predators are known for sabotaging other birds’ eggs and chicks.

The American Crows on Tuesday hid in the tops of eucalyptus trees at Stern Grove and almost went unnoticed until their caws disrupted the stillness around Pine Lake.

Dan Murphy, who helped start the San Francisco chapter of the society, said last year the group documented 413 American Crows and 616 ravens, which also used to be uncommon.

“I’d say 27 at the least,” yelled a binocular-wearing Murphy, while the flock swarmed the sky. “They’re at the top of the food chain. … It might not be a good thing.”

As for the implications of the soaring number of crows, Murphy says he will leave that up to the experts.

He and his group of eight others — among 16 teams scattered throughout The City and a boat in the Bay — document everything they see.

In the afternoon, Murphy’s group was about halfway through their portion of the bird count and had seen species that ran the gamut. That’s when they spotted a White-Throated Sparrow, a bird that nests all over the East Coast but never on the West Coast.

“It’s been years since I’ve seen one of those,” said Tom Bacon, who was known among the group for hearing and naming the birds before he sees them.

The details of who saw what would be hashed out later during a dinner — inside a warm building, not out in the rain. The full tally from the annual count will be completed within a few weeks, Murphy said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/bay-area/2011/01/no-flock-seagulls-crows-descend-sf#ixzz1OoocaOHi

 

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The Sky is Laughing at Me – a Young Woman Comes of Age

– Anonymous

I’m sitting on my bed looking out of my windows at the canyon, and out at my campus. Even though it’s almost summer, the sky is filled with grey clouds, and its dark outside. The light seeps through crevices in the storm, only to illuminate the fluttering of the leaves on the trees that are swaying in every direction. I don’t sleep because the howling wind encloses my corner room, and is slapping against my windows.

So, I’m sitting here, watching. It’s amazing how the earth can be so full of energy. But that energy is neither good nor bad, and it is not happy or sad. This energy is movement, and existence. It’s not complicated, it just is. This energy just happens, it can’t be controlled, and it can’t be predicted. It affects everyone at different times. Sometimes bad things happen as a result of storms, but sometimes people are lucky enough to safely observe them from inside their comfy rooms, and comfortable lives. I am sitting on my bed, but I know my heart is outside, struggling, swaying, in the dark, and howling. But at least, it is existing.

A little bird just perched itself up on my window sill, and then quickly flew away. For a moment, as I glanced over I felt a flutter of happiness for something so small to exist among the storms in life. But this was fleeting, as the black bird flew away against the backdrop of the storm.

When the trees stop moving for a second, there is a tangible tension. You know they are waiting for more wind. They are still for a second, stiff with anticipation of what to come. But when the wind blows, the move fluidly and without ceasing. The wind decides when they move, and in what direction they will go. The clouds play too, and let a little bit of sunlight through, so that everybody can witness this. This is a game. There is an energy between them, and I feel that I can sense it.

Is there a tension between them and me as well, that I foolishly think is blocked by the window and wall that separates me from outside? Am I a part of this game of existence? Is it possible for my energy to be neither good, bad, happy nor sad, and can I just simply exist? Can I just be, or am I more?

Who do I want to be? Do I want to exist, or do I want to be more? I want to be one with these trees, and the wind, and the clouds, and the darkness. I don’t want to fear. I want to move when I am pushed, and sway when there is force against me. Let the stresses of a storm press against me, that I may discover who I am in the silence of its passing.

At one time I found happiness in an idea of who I wanted to be. I wanted to be the woman my boyfriend loved. I wanted to be popular among my friends, loved by my family, the funny girl at parties, the nerdy student who always attended, and eventually the beloved teacher who also had her own kids that she and her husband adored. Like the light shining through the clouds illuminating the movement of the trees, it is so clear to me now that I can still have all those things. I am still moving even in this storm, and in this darkness. The only thing that has changed is that now they won’t all be with “him.”

So I am a tree, and I wait for the next set of wind to move me. I feel stiff with anticipation and anxiety because I do know more is to come. I’m still, and in a storm, this feel unnatural. I am nervous, and I don’t like it. But I can’t escape the truth because of the glare the sun is giving me dares me to realize the game is not over yet.

As the black bird perched atop my windowsill allowed me to admire it for a second before flying away, so “he” brought me the same glimpse of happiness. He stopped at my window and for a second I knew him, and he let me see him and love him. Away he flew, and the moment of rare happiness was left with a void and empty foreground atop an abysmal set of storm clouds. But since that moment, I have seen other birds fly by, and even though they are mere shadows cast by the rays of the sun piercing the black clouds, I know they are in this storm too. I wait for one of these birds to rest for a second, and let me see it. At least I know there are other birds.

Like these trees, I want to let life move me. I want to be flexible, and experience everything that happens around me. I want to see, I want to play, and I want to be.

Eventually I may get used to waiting for wind, and my energy will just exist. I don’t want to be this sad person that I have become. I know I can still have a nice life, and just one variable has changed. I want to close my heart to him, but open it up to love this deeply in other areas of my life.

I want to sincerely serve others. When I tutor I want to love the students in the after care center so much that I can’t wait to get to go there. I want to love my family, and enjoy hearing about everything they say, feel, hear, think, see, eat, do…everything. I want to be thoughtful and considerate. I want to be kind, and in tune with people’s needs. I want to listen to my friends, and hug them more often. I want to compliment people more, and appreciate them for what they do. I want to be friendly and welcoming. I want to be easier going, and less bossy. I want to be a lover, and a sweet girl. I want to feel free.

I want to feel. I want to know love in all the parts of my body like I do now. The way I know in my bones, stomach, heart, soul, mind, and everywhere that I loved him.  I want to know that sort of love, but for others. I don’t’ want to know love in my bones, heart, soul, mind and gut because it makes me weak and sick. I want to experience a love that I feel in my toes, and fingertips because it makes me better, and emboldens me. I want to love so powerfully that I feel it in my core, and I want to be somebody that helps people.

I don’t want there to be room for badness, sadness or anger in my body anymore. When there is no wind moving me, I want to stand tall and firm. I don’t want to wait nervously, but instead excitedly. I want to anticipate storms and embrace them as they come, as a confirmation of my existence. I am strong. I am. I am part of this, and I am more than this. I am more than an energy because I have life. Even though life is where the good, bad, happy and sad come from… life is what makes you free. I can do more than exist as an energy does, because I can live. I can be a tree, and await a storm,  but I get to choose how I wait. I can wait nervously, or I can be joyous for what is to come. Storms are solely energy, neither good nor bad, happy nor sad…so I can choose. I have choice. I can choose if this is a good storm, a bad one, a happy storm, or a sad one. It exists, but I live it.

I’m the one moving with the wind. Life is a choice, and I can choose who to be and what dreams I have. I can love people to my roots, and touch the world with my branches. I can wave to birds passing by with the flickering of my leaves.

I can’t control this storm, but I can control me. I can be an energy that is good, and I can live a life that is happy. The sky is laughing at me because the light I see shinning through already knew what its message was all along, but sometimes it’s hard not to get lost in the darkness.

I am a tree, and there are other trees with me, but I know now that he was just a bird.

 

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