Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Carnage Continues

Since getting into birding, Glenn and I have noticed that a really interesting variety of birds can pop up just about anywhere. Cooper's Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Mallards, and even Green Herons make regular appearances at the generic, Irvine-adjacent office park where Glenn works—this gives him something to look forward to at work besides free orange juice in the lunchroom (woohoo!).

But yesterday, he saw something disturbing—a Black Phoebe killing another Black Phoebe. The two birds were engaged in a frenzied mid-air battle, which gravitated towards one of the buildings in the office park. The birds slammed into a window, then one flew off. The remaining bird lay unconscious on the window ledge, and didn't move for the rest of the day. It was pretty obvious he was a goner.

"That bird KILLED another Phoebe!" Glenn exclaimed when he got home.

"I don't think he MEANT to kill him—it was probably just a territorial thing and he wanted him off his turf. The other bird dying was just an accident."

"Yeah, but he didn't even seem to feel bad about it; he just flew off!"

Obviously, the ethical considerations of Black Phoebes are way beyond the realm of our expertise. But this, combined with the hormonal frenzy of the mating season, made me realize that the birding community hasn't exploited an obvious angle for getting the general public interested in birds:

Sex and violence.

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