Sunday, February 22, 2009

Woodpeckers Pecking? Shoot Them!

In August I wrote about people who wanted to kill feral cats for leaving paw prints on their cars. Now here's a story (and once again, I'm impressed by the quality of a nature-related article in the LA Times--I'm going to have to start checking their website) from the opposite coast about people killing acorn woodpeckers for pecking holes in their buildings.

OK, maybe a little more understandable anger, but the cause of this problem is humans in every one of many ways. There's the old standard routine of people wanting to live close to nature but then finding it inconvenient once they move in. There was no problem with the original buildings in this retirement community but the last buildings were erected overlooking a canyon filled with oak trees. The developer decided to make cheap trim out of styrofoam and stucco. The community, thinking it would eliminate forest fires by removing dead wood from the canyon, simultaneously eliminated places where the woodpeckers would normally have stored their acorns. And the solution? Well, killing woodpeckers won't be that solution unless you kill every one because new ones will simply replace the ones you kill. You've moved into woodpecker habitat.

And you've got to love these birds. Just stupid animals, right? Well, it didn't take them long to learn that it was easier to drill a storage space in styrofoam than in oak. And the wooden owl people put up to try to scare them away? They drilled holes in that also.

And in a similar story also brought to my attention by the Nature Blog Network, Extinct Bird Found, Sold, Eaten.


Woodswalker said...

I felt a certain glee about those woodpeckers poking holes in newly built buildings. The road I take to my river used to be a dirt one, with ancient maples forming an arch over the road. Now it's paved to serve the McMansions that have supplanted the woods, the houses all surrounded by large manicured lawns. One homeowner was complaining that primitive campsites were soon to be sited in what was left of the woods: "We moved to this area because we wanted peace and quiet!" He didn't catch the irony that his complaint was nearly drowned out by the sound of lawn mowers and pesticide sprayers all over his neighborhood.

greentangle said...

Yes, it's always the person who comes next who is the problem, isn't it? Especially ironic that it's a McMansioner complaining about primitive campsites. There goes the neighborhood.

I once lived on what I think was the only dirt road in the city of Boston. It was just a little alley leading to an open space between a few buildings and a couple huge oak trees where I'd sometimes see a fat raccoon family. When I returned to visit my old neighborhood, I found all the space between buildings paved over--one big parking lot.

Anonymous said...

Big mistake, you should never go back to your old neighborhood.

greentangle said...

Yeah, I guess it's never an improvement, is it? Unless you lived near a dam that got ripped out.