Monday, June 18, 2007
Once again, Bryan puts his finger on an important and puzzling phenomenon of our times. This giantism among the bird population - and only among the bird population - is perhaps most strikingly demonstrated by the reintroduced Red Kites(mentioned in my post 'More Nige Birds')that fly casually, and terrifyingly hugely, around the paddocks and suburban streets of Bucks. Like wood pigeons, pheasants are now so portly and overfed they can barely take to the air, and huge herons continue to spread alarm wherever there's a 'water feature'. The Ring Necked Parakeet which is now taking over London is not only out of place and raucous but also out of scale. A lot of this, oddly, is down to the same factors that are supersizing sections of the human population - too much of everything, especially fast food and waste (and 'water features') - but it seems counter-intuitive. We expect things to loom larger in our childhood and dwindle as we grow older. With birds, in this generation, the reverse has happened, and the birds of our childhood seem dainty little things compared to what's flapping laboriously around now. We rarely saw a cormorant or heron, let alone a red kite. It also runs counter to ideas of all Nature being huddled defensively against the onslaughts of wicked Man. Large creatures, for obvious reasons, have a harder time staying alive, and are dependent on large supplies of food and human goodwill (i.e. not shooting them). Yes, we've made our country too cushy for these avian giants, we softhearted British, egged on by the likes of cuddly Bill Oddie and that extremely powerful charity, the RSPB. We have made a land fit for gigantic birds, if not for very much else. I blame myself.
Posted by Nige at 9:12 am