Home > Dispatches >Daily Dispatches 2022 > Daily Dispatch #185

July 8, 2022: Swallows

My friends Logan and Lynsey (Logan is also the Bright Lights Book Project videographer) had two eagles build a nest on a telephone pole, less than 600 feet from the site where they are soon to build a house.

No problem, or so they thought. It turns out that (as Logan said) Eagles have rights, and as such, are considered to be a protected species. And so, in Alaska, if you build a dwelling near a nesting area, you have to get a permit. In Logan and Lynsey’s case, they paid $500.00. The nesting period is from May to August.

Alys's foot and bear track

There would have been more fees, but according to Logan, the nest is now empty.

This does beg the question, do animals have rights? Elizabeth Kolbert wrote an article on the subject in recent New Yorker, noting that someone with a story similar to that of Lynsey and Logan was taking this matter up in court. I think that the animal, an elephant, lost.

Two sets of swallows have been attempting to raise their young on our property. One pair built a nest in the eves of my cabin, and the other pair built a nest in a swallow box outside our bedroom window.

The offspring of both sets will leave the nest in the next few days. I can see the bedroom box babies – they have their mouths wide open, and the parents come and pop insects in their mouths. They are noisy. They do seem to quiet at night, then start making noise around 5 a.m.

I’d like to see them launch; I think at best that we’ll see them flopping around the lawn.

The birds have not seemed to be bothered by our comings and goings: the dogs, the horses, or the goats. Their nests are above our heads, as is their flight pattern. However, their nesting area is not as bucolic as they might like. Pete and I and the dogs are all noisy in the mornings – this has to be stressing the out.

As with the eagles, I have been wondering, do sparrows have rights? Most likely not, because as is the dandelion a common weed, sparrows are a common bird. If there were just a dozen pairs left, we’d be singing a different story.

If all animals had rights, even the so-called lowly worm, this would make the world a different place. I’d like to think that it would make humans more kind and compassionate; although, I suspect that we’d instead be angry and resentful and remain this way.

Down the road, large heavy equipment is being used to “fix” two bridges. Makes me think that the ATV lobby is really powerful in this state. They’ll probably have this done in time for hunting season.

How can we “be the change” when idiots remain so resolute? I’m an extremist on the side of nature.

Next: 186. 7/9/22: Birds of a Feather

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