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We don't need no Stinking Pigeons

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 17, 2001


There have been at least five occasions when nearly two-thirds of living species disappeared from the face of the earth. These were due to natural disasters. The last involved dinosaurs and an asteroid. According to most biologists working today we are at the beginning of the 6th great extinction, caused by relentless expansion and the limitless appetites of human beings.

As the human population grows the demand for natural resources increases. Which means more and more habitats are devastated to meet that demand. Some ecosystems have been so disturbed they no longer resemble what they where before western civilization decided they where in they way.

One of the perks of being the smartest monkey on the planet, ours is the dubious distinction of possessing the ability to destroy entire species at will. Food,fashion,fuel,fun,and fortune, are all used to justify pushing other species to the brink. The excuse we use in Southern California is growth.

Ours is a suburban habitat. No longer a region of rolling hills gradually ending at the Pacific Ocean, the plants and animals that survive the bulldozers and other sport utility vehicles must adapt to living in closer proximity to humans. It's a shame humans can't leave room for them. The question is: Will we miss them when they're gone? Will we even notice?

Some people would notice. In fact some people are very aware of the pressures being put on those that share this diminishing ark with us. Such a person has decided to adopt the pigeon population of Encinitas. And like the saying goes, No good deed goes unpunished. This time however the ones being threatened are the ones benefiting from the good deed.

While campaigning this past fall I caught wind of a brewing controversy that continues to revolve around a woman who has enough room in her life to include birds, and others who have decided birds have no place in downtown Encinitas, other than on their plate with a side of fries. And as you will soon read these folks have no problem causing the death of innocent creatures.

This all started when a waitress at the 101 Diner decided feeding pigeons was a good idea. I'm sure the pigeons think so too. Sadly a messy aspect of life on earth, is the "in one end and out the other conversation." I other words pigeon poop was pissing off some downtown merchants. It's funny, humans have no problem pumping their own crap into the ocean, but let a little guano find it's way onto someone's car and they immediately start screaming for blood. The below note was anonymously sent to the diner as a warning.

We are tired of you feeding the birds.
You have been asked to quit and you won't.
We have only one solution.
If you feed the birds one more time, we will feed them poison mixed with bird food and they will all die a horrible death.
If you start feeding them again, we will feed them more poison and more will die.
We will continue feeding them poison until you quit.
If you think we are kidding, you are DEAD WRONG!
You will then be responsible for killing the birds you seem to love.
The choice is yours.
You either stop feeding them or they all die.

This hateful letter is unconscionable, and it is safe to say it does not reflect the opinion of the majority of Encinitas residents. It's too bad the creep who sent the threatening notes lacked the courage to sign his or her name. I would have loved to given them credit for their fine example of malicious disregard.

It is no secret that I am of the live and let live philosophy. And as such a person, I believe that every species has as much right to life on the planet, as humans do. Hell if Homosapiens are allowed to eat at the local diner so should our feathered friends. After all they, for the most part, were here first. Granted the pigeons are not native, but then again neither are most of the people who now call San Diego County home. And no one is threatening them.

Today, we may be losing 30,000 species a year -- a rate much faster than at any time since the last great extinction 65 million years ago. If we continue on this course, we will destroy even any hope we may have. So let's lighten up on the birds people, less we find our selves alone, and damn future generations to a world devoid of pigeons and other messy creatures.

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