Monday, November 15, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 11/15/2010

By now you might have heard the sad news of “the Big Girl’s” death…death undoubtedly by lead poisoning…stupid, senseless, stinking mean. We will never know for sure where she got into trouble, but all signs point to lead shot. Our best guess is that it probably wasn’t deer hunters as there isn’t much of that in her “hood”. Chance of a lead sinker entering into her digestive system isn’t very likely. Most likely she fell prey to the wicked remains of a “varmint” that had been shot, left to die, and then silently to take another life with it. It is pretty clear that there are people who shoot coyotes, jackrabbits, skunks, squirrels and other small animals for reasons other than fur or food. It seems that many of them don’t bother to remove the carcasses or gut piles and that is where the trouble begins. Studies show that 75 terrestrial species of birds (non waterfowl) have been shown to be poisoned by spent lead. The agencies offer non led ammunition and encourage hunters to turn in their gut piles…but some people don’t want to chase after a wounded animal, and these wounded ones go off and die only to be found by predators who are hard wired to take carrion or weakened prey. Our Big Girl could have been the unintentional secondary “target” of these injured mammals.

I wonder how the shooters would feel if they watched her die, like we did, if they knew how many people prayed for her recovery, if they watched her mate wait for her return. Will this wasted life result in a failed territory this year? If those careless shooters cared to multiply her potential productivity over a long life, would they mourn the loss of those precious off spring? Was it worth the fun of plinking away at a small mammal as it went about its way?

In the greater scheme of things, this is one of the things I just don’t get. If I sound vitriolic, it is because it seems to me to fit right now.

The bald eagle, known briefly as “the Big Girl”, had a momentary rally. We’ve seen it before…the last adrenaline rush before the vital organs begin to shut down one by one, and there is nothing that can be done. First you notice the light to start to seep out of the eyes; it is slow, painful to watch, and in the end, while it is inevitable, it is still devastating.

I’ll repeat what I said many blogs before. If you do hunt, bring in what you shoot and better yet, make the responsible move to non-lead shot. Don’t let her life be totally wasted…..make the change right now.


Bethany F said...

Megan, I think this is the best blog you've written. I'll definitely be passing it along to all who will listen. Truly words that all should hear. I'm so sad to hear of Big Girl's passing.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened by this event, Thank you for trying to save her.

Anita said...

Megan, This article made me cry. You have a wonderful way of expressing what we all feel. I will be posting portions on my facebook. I want everyone to know and maybe help spread the knowledge. Thank you.

Carol Baetzel said...

Megan, heartbroken that I can't walk into her flight cage anymore and see her amazing flight across the cage and my little head. LW is amazing and I posted this on my FB page and am so saddened because it's an on-going process about educating those "who don't know what they don't know" and I told them they needed to watch the looks on your faces when the LW team has to euthanize or watch one of these great creatures make its crossing to the Rainbow Bridge. I'm so so sorry for all of you..... Carol

Leah M. Vader said...

I'm so sorry to read this. I also will share this on Facebook. I have a lot of friends in Wyoming who hunt, and bald eagles come there to winter. This could very well happen in Wyo and who would be there to even try to help?
Love and peace to all at Liberty,

Bald Eagle Nest Watch

Anonymous said...

How tragic. I appreciate your hope that the shooter would feel remorse if they knew the secondary result of their act. But I live in the area. And shooters will shoot anything that moves, and some things that don't. They do not respect any life with the possible exception of their own. Sadly, I think if they had any idea they were the cause, they would pat themselves on the back just like they did when they shot the original "varmit". Years back there was a young bald eagle hunting along Oak Creek. A neighbor told me he was going to shoot that "chicken hawk" that was getting his chicks. I told him that if he did, I would turn him in and he would be arrested. He had no clue that an adolescent Bald Eagle does not have a white head yet. Nor did he care. The only thing that stopped him was his poor decision to complain to me before he acted.

Patricia Armstrong said...

You should make the rounds of NRA meetings with a bird and then let them know what their careless ways are causing. It's much more effective if they can see what is dying because of lead. This would be a marvelous Letter To The Editor as well. Send it to our gun happy friends to publish in the NRA journal as well.

Gail C said...

Thanks to Liberty Wildlife staff and volunteers for all of the eagles and other animals they do save. And thanks for being the voice for Big Girl. Perhaps her passing won't be in vain.