Too many eagles?

Posted June 3rd, 2009 by kcorliss. Comments Off on Too many eagles?.

It’s impossible to fully comprehend the entire web of life as it heaves and shrugs and pulses all around the globe every hour of every day. We have enough trouble trying to figure out human problems much less what goes on in nature.

So I find it rather interesting to read this story from the AP. The title, "Flourishing eagles feast on Maine’s rare seabirds." In it you will find the bald eagle being targeted as the bad guy because the birds are purportedly eating great cormorants.

It’s an okay piece by itself but some of the quotes deserve further scrutiny.

Take this one for instance:

"They’re like thugs. They’re like gang members. They go to these offshore islands where all these seabirds are and the birds are easy picking," said Brad Allen, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "These young eagles are harassing the bejesus out of all the birds, and the great cormorants have been taking it on the chin."

It never ceases to amaze me how we as a species have this overwhelming desire to choose the winners and losers in nature.

Then there’s this from the story’s author:

The recovery of the bald eagle population has been well-documented, growing from 400 pairs to more than 10,000 pairs in the lower 48 states since the 1960s. But the revival has changed the natural order of things in Maine and other states, threatening other bird species.

"Changed the natural order?" Just what is the natural order? If there is one, I haven’t heard it. Again, I’ll repeat what I’ve stated in the past: There is no order in nature as we humans define it or at least would like it to be. There is only a brand of chaos being played out using cold, brutal, unemotional rules far outside the boundaries of human meddling.

Finally there’s this from Greg Butcher, an Audubon guy:

"We’re in an interesting age where most people think birds are either overabundant or too rare," he said. "It’s hard to get it just right."

He at least hints at the truth. The reason it’s hard to get it "just right" is because there is no just right. It’s a continuously moving target.

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