May they soar

I love pigeons. I think I’ve established that. I spent a few relaxing minutes today watching one iridescent bird splash in an ornamental fountain. Although I love pigeons, I read a disturbing news story today about some other pigeon lovers. These people breed certain pigeons for sport, and they decided to protect their prize birds by killing off falcons, hawks, and other raptors.

I want to speak to them, tell them: “No, no, a thousand times, no!” I can understand why they love pigeons, but raptors are also glorious birds. I love to watch them coasting through the clouds, soaring on the thermals. It’s sad for us when they feast upon our feathered friends, but raptors were born to eat mice and other birds. It’s what they do. It’s the natural order of things, and as a people we don’t know enough about that order to try to intervene. If you doubt this, study the history of Australia and their intentional introduction of foreign species which have overrun the country. Study the verdant and ever-spreading kudzu plant. It’s originally from Asia, and with nothing to stop it here the plant swallows trees, fields and even buildings in the South.

I believe than balance and diversity are two of the essential components of joy. The pigeons thrive despite the raptors. Who knows how many pigeons there would be without these predators. Perhaps it would be too many. As much as I love pigeons, I would not want them crowding every square inch of the sidewalk, clogging traffic so that cars and busses couldn’t move, and perhaps becoming aggressive because they no longer had enough to eat. Everything is better in moderation, even pigeons. It’s better for them, too. Who knows what else would overbreed without the raptors—do we really want to risk a city overrun by rats? I hope the penalties are stiff for these particular pigeon lovers, and that they learn to appreciate everything in balance. Yay pigeons! Yay raptors!

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

145. Is there some creature in your natural environment that you don’t like? Perhaps you dislike spiders or squirrels or something else. Do a little research to see what benefits that creature might have. Did it make you feel better to know these benefits?

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