Friday, June 4, 2010

Paradise Lost... Killer Birds

Where sheep may safely graze?

My last post was about our visit to West Cumbria. A wonderful holiday with exercise! Fantastic scenery — hills, streams, mountains, lakes and the sea. Everywhere brimming with new life — calves, foals, lambs, pigs, birds and no doubt the red squirrels had young somewhere around.
The only ugliness on the landscape, which brought me to tears, was discovering a young lamb lying dead close to its mother. The poor innocent creature had had its eyes pecked out, no doubt by crows. Black holes with blood trickling down its face. Another lamb was limping on three legs. When we reported the scene at the nearby farmhouse, I was told it was only nature. But the man intended removing both lambs because crows attack the ones they find in distress.
Nature? Well my reaction was that if I had a shotgun I’d shoot every crow in sight. Lambs are so very vulnerable — creatures that never do harm and yet suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune — in this case sharp beaks. Of course, I know I would never fire a shotgun, even if someone put one in my hand and said, ‘Go on, shoot at their nests and kill the bloody lot of them.’
We had only been home just over a week, when that dreadful happening took place in the very area we visited. I have put photographs of the area here. Whitehaven was once industrial and the place has had to cope with closure of the mines and all associated with the business. But, like other towns in Cumbria, ones used to having fishing boats in their harbours or industry keeping people in work, changes have been made. Marinas seem to be the thing. Rather ironic though that these places will service those with money for an expensive hobby or sport. As to whether this has anything whatsoever to do with one man going on a rampage of killing is another matter altogether.
West Cumbria is rural. Cumbrian farmers, like elsewhere, have suffered many
misfortunes — most have survived but incidents of broken men taking their own lives is not unknown.
But what of Derrick Bird? What made him snap and kill his brother, colleagues, friends and neighbours? Twelve deaths and eleven injuries, some life-threatening. Then his own life. The horror is too great for my mind to taken in.
Money pressures may be at the heart of it. It may be thought idyllic to live in this magical area, but beautiful scenery does not pay the bills. Anger and hatred, combined with low self-esteem can lead to violence, Someone snaps — have gun will shoot?
Those injured and dead, and their loved ones, are not the only victims. A mother has lost her twin sons — one of them having killed the other. Cain and Abel? The whole area is in grief.
At present I feel strangely detached. I know, deep down, we all have a darker side. We learn to have mastery over it and use it creatively. Even to the extent of only recognising our ‘shadow’ as a force for creativity. But is also a place, a cellar, where our ‘demons’ live. Once the ‘policeman’ dwelling in our ‘upper’ mind — the authority voice, a combination of ‘voices’ that taught us right from wrong— is subdued, then restraint has gone all hell can be let loose. But it is premature to speculate.
Let us stone the crows by all means to keep them from the sheep, but we need to understand what makes people break under pressure, that is, if we want to avoid these dreadful tragedies.


Geoff_N said...

Beautiful photographs, Gladys, and a touching narrative.

Ironic that Birds are involved in two horrific ways.

Geoff Dellow said...

I'm all for nature.

It's us humans that are out of touch. If animals didn't die due to predators and disease then we would quickly be overrun by them.

Look what's happening with humans. We're rapidly approaching carnage levels here as recent events have shown. I doubt that humans are designed to cope with the amount of stress they are subjected to. One of these is worrying about lambs being attacked by crows.

The farmer has got it right. Let's hope there are some raptors around to kill off a few crows.

Gladys Hobson said...

Geoff, I rather think the farmer would soon be out of pocket if most of his lambs were killed off by crows. They are not wild animals that need to be culled.
I wonder if you would be happy with crows if one came down and pecked the eyes out of your cat? Some unkind neighbour might say, 'Good, one less to foul my garden.' Another, 'One less to torture and kill the birds.'
A cat lover would have nightmares over such an incident.
For me, a lamb is symbolic of a number of things. One of them being the helpless innocent children of this world.
But another thing is the horror of the action. Man has tortured man by putting out his eyes. Enemies have poked the eyes out of young boys in tribal disputes. (And chopped off limbs — forcing children to do the same etc etc) Would you say that is only 'nature' and man has got it right — keeping numbers down?
Take that attitude and it will always be the weakest to suffer and have no rights. Perhaps that is the way it has to be with wild animals but devoid man of his essential 'humanity' and you throw aside his moral responsibility to all forms of life, including his own.
No, I don't go around worrying about lambs and crows. But it comes as a shock when I see the dying of a lamb and the pathos of a mother bereft. Plus another lamb that is in for the same treatment if it is not humanely dispatched.