I hope my social media pals using squirrel personae won’t take this personally.
Some people like to feed the wildlife. They have their reasons, most of which are noble. However, we’re seeing bad outcomes. Animals are getting more comfortable with humans, and some have been aggressive and injured people because they associate humans with food handouts.
Recently, in Northern California, a child was attacked in a classroom by a squirrel who was running amok on campus. If you’ve ever rented a cabin in the woods and been confronted indoors by the local fauna you’ve seen the consequences. Animals also reproduce more easily when they’re “overnourished,” compounding the problem and creating unsanitary situations.
When the population of one species gets out of hand, that’s one more burden on the ecosystem. It’s disturbing to think of how carnivore species victimize other animals, but it’s part of the balance. When we tamper in a bad way with the size of one population, we may pose a threat to another. There’s also a problem with one species becoming so common the animals can’t find enough food to survive.
I don’t know the rule of thumb with feeding birds. In San Francisco, we have a city ordinance forbidding us to feed pigeons, for multiple reasons:
a) Feeding pigeons makes them more fertile, and the city is already overpopulated with them.
b) Pigeons congregate and nest in places where they can find food easily. Then they proceed to poop all over everything, including us. I’ve been told they target people who are dressed for job interviews, but that sounds more like a fate thing.
c) A minority of pigeons who are accustomed to being fed by humans have produced amateur productions of The Birds, and although we haven’t been injured as seriously as the Tippi Hedren character I can attest to the fact that a few of our feathered fiends have shown real gall. This isn’t just the instinctive, predictable behavior of the adult male bird protecting the nest. Pigeons don’t have to be anywhere near their nests to strongwing people for food. They expect us to be their snack vending machines. If we don’t offer food voluntarily, some will behave as if they just lost their money in the machine and they’d better do something about it.
In other words, we’re told not to feed pigeons for some of the same reasons we shouldn’t feed squirrels or deer.
Wild animals should be encouraged to find their own food. If humans are generous, we risk creating an out of control situation — for ourselves and for the animals.
This slide show was uploaded to YouTube yesterday. It’s meant to be humorous, but the message is realistic. Some of the photographs have appeared previously on social media.
Running time is slightly over one minute.
By the way, YouTube offers royalty-free music to uploaders who need audio. When you’re signed in to your channel, click “Video Manager.” Then click the “Edit” button next to the listing for your uploaded video. In the drop-down menu, click “Audio.” More than 150,000 music recordings are available, in different genres.
I’ve been cautioned that adding this music will automatically delete other audio already on the project, but I haven’t experimented so I don’t know if it’s true. If any of you would like to risk ruining one of your own videos by messing with the sound that way, please let me know how it turns out. *giggles*