Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Shooting a Cardinal

In the "My Turn" section of this week's Newsweek, a woman describes the experience of shooting a cardinal. The column is presented as a conversion story from a gun-hater to a hunter. The reason for the shooting was that the cardinal was banging into the house's windows.

After 14 months of incessant attacks, Cardinalis held our family hostage. We tried everything to win our freedom and a little sleep. My husband and I wrapped sticky tape around tree branches and along window frames; we wove webs of fishing line across our five-foot windows, wired plaster cardinals to peripheral tree branches, propped mirrors in the gardens, placed plastic owls and stuffed toys in windows and baited a Hav-A-Heart trap with sunflower seeds. We threw stones at our tormentor and sprayed him with the garden hose, all to no avail.

After living for 36 months under the siege of Cardinalis, I cracked. My sleep patterns had altered, my ability to concentrate (already declining with age) was spiraling down to about 30-second intervals. My hands were shaky, my head ached, my vision blurred. I had morphed from a cookie-baking granny to a crazed zombie. I turned away from my bleeding-heart pals toward those who enjoy a more pragmatic turn of mind—those who honor the way of the warrior.

Birdchick suggests lodging a complaint with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation since the shooting violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I myself wondered if the author had considered the possibility of subsequent legal action, since proclaiming the tale on the pages of a prominent national magazine would bring it to the attention of multiple conservation organizations and law enforcement officials. Perhaps penalties are subject to a statute of limitations.

Update: Birderblog has comments here, here, and here. Birds etcetera suggests that the incident may have been fabricated. Birdchaser warns against intemperate responses.