Saturday, July 02, 2005


It is never easy to suddenly grasp our occasional encounter with wildlife. Often we are amazed at what we see, perhaps because we consciously distance ourselves from our wilderness experience [as mammals]. As a result most people are unable to "find the words" to reflect upon their encounters not to mention their larger impact as [we] collectively build more houses, roads, stores, malls, offices, et al. It is in the this context that some of us really struggle when we unintentionally injure or cause the death of a creature. At some level, we confront the larger impact we know we cannot stop and at once identify with the reality of this thing called "progress".

Perhaps the link is not consciously made but it is felt. And for us (you and me and a few others), it is momentarily painful. We are able to empathize to some extent. I have had a number of similar experiences in recent weeks with birds in the barn, bees & wasps or hornets in the attic and a rabbit nest I hit while mowing weeds with the field & brush mower. There was 1 casualty out of 3 or 4 babies. It was intact but lifeless with a bloody nose. I buried it under the nearby tree just to keep the flies away from the living babies still under the nest. That accident just ruined the rest of my afternoon. I stopped mowing until another day.

As for the birds, we did the best we could. The robins and I had a neighborly argument which had me evicting their messy nests from my barn although after 4 attempts, one finally succeeded in building and laying. So we coexisted
until the 3-4 hatchlings left the nest.

Infact, there was one that was learning to fly who was stuck running around inside the barn. I had the doors open and could hear mama just makng all kinds of noise in the
tree while I was trying to get the hatchling out so in the pot shed and though I let it stay because by the time I discovered the nest, it had eggs, one egg fell, one hatchling fell and died and judging from mama's erratic flight patterns and behaviors in my presence, I can assume she was not a happy bird.

As for the insects, I was installing an attic exhaust fan in the attic eaves and there were nests. It was very hot up there and the space was tight. If they got agitated, I would have no quick and effective escape. I was hammering and drilling and moving the fan to fit in the vent. I had to eliminate the active nests so that I could work.

I don't mind the wildlife but I do get a little annoyed when my house is used as nesting grounds for everything above and below ground. If I reflect though on my opening comments here, perhaps I can relate now to what it feels like to have one's habitat compromised or lost entirely.

Scott Carter


Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It's interesting to note that I do not spend 20 minutes or even three seconds mourning the life of a mosquito or black fly, though there was a time in my life that I would not kill even a mosquito that was biting me. I would blow on it to make it fly away.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...


I was sorry to hear of your misadventures mowing up a rabbit nest and inadvertently killing a baby bunny. It sent knife blades into me, remembering two similar incidents I had.

Once I mowed over a fledgling robin in the tall grass—didn’t see it, and it was badly badly injured but still alive. And clearly in terrible pain. Not knowing what else to do, I rushed into the house, ran up the stairs and flushed it down the toilet, hoping for a quick drown to put it out of its misery. I was devastated. It hurt terribly (in my heart I mean, though of course not nearly as bad as it hurt the robin!). It still hurts to remember.

Another time I mowed over and badly injured a big fat toad that I had been enjoying in my garden. I was so sad.

I do not like to be the cause of suffering.

Sorry about your birds and insects too.

peacorpus said...

Oh, accidentally mowing the rabbit's nest must have been really, I should say, devastating. I remember the time when Christabel had opened the balcony door and the chick that she and Neal had gotten from the Easter mass at church the day before was crushed behind the door because we had left them there (there were two and it was a good thing the other one wasn't hit) on the balcony so they can just walk and play without feeling caged or anything, and the kids can play with them as well. I wouldn't want to describe how it looked like when I saw it behind the door. There was just a tiny tweet and then nothing. The children cried, and I wanted to but had to take it and bury it. Well, at least the other one had lived long enough to grow to a full size chicken, and had probably died of old age since the children had refused my original plan of cooking it and eating it for dinner (sorry for that, I don't think I will never think of cooking another "pet" again). And I didn't know you had a lot of insects' nests disturbed when you installed the attic ceiling fan. But then you're right, you wouldn't want your habitat being compromised. Forgiven and no spanking for that.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

How sad, Pea, about the poor chick!

peacorpus said...

Hi, Mary. Oh yes, it was a very sad day when that happened. It was morning and it had somehow left us all bereaved for the rest of the day. We had other pets who died too before but that was the first time that we had somehow caused the death of one. We had a pet dog once, a friend gave it to me before I even had children, so I really took care of it myself. And then the incident here of the volcano in a nearby province erupting and sending ash fumes and dust all the way to Metro Manila had caused the dog to contract pneumonia. I took him to the vet because he was feeling so weak. I was never really very fond of mammals but seeing him so weak, I wrapped him in a blanket myself and took him in my arms like I would a child, and took him to the dog hospital. The vet said I have to heat him up since the body temperature is very low, and had prescribed some medication. When I took him home, I used a hair dryer to somehow warm his body (that was what the doctor had suggested) and gave him hot soup. Fed it to him myself. But he only got worse and after a couple of days passed away. I cried. I never thought I will for a pet, but I did. he was a very lively puppy when I took him home the first time. I guess inhaling all those volcanic dust had really made his lungs suffer.

You know it is only now that I seem to recall these things probably because it has been so long that I have somehow communed with nature, being very busy taking care of my children and myself. Well, one happy note is that my kids have 8 cats in all now as pets. The mother, 2 from the first set of kittens she had given birth to, one is a stray cat that had joined the family, and she (mommy cat named Dot) had given birth to another 4 recently, who are such a delight to see as they scramble for food in the morning. And I don't know but I guess having just me and the kids now have somehow made me appreciate them more. The company they give, and the delightful feeling they somehow evoke. They are so cute and are so beautifully colored. My daughter keeps taking pictures and I will ask her for some. Maybe I can give the calico colored to Scott so Oliver can have company. Do you think I will be allowed to mail it? :-)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Hi Pea,

I do get attached to my pets and even hate to see unknown animals suffer. So sorry.

I love Calico kitties, do send some pix. not sure Oliver wants to share her share of Scott. LOL!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

What a sad misadventure with the colcano and the puppy--did it affect your lungs, too? And your children's?

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