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Nature Red in Beak and Claw

I intervened, likely to no good effect.

I simply could not walk past the spectacle of a full-grown blue jay beating the stuffing out of a fledgling sparrow in the bank parking lot on the way up from the Metro.

The sparrow's near relatives were screaming and buzzing, and as I got near, a bunch of them took off after something that fled across the street: probably the blue jay's mate. The fledgling was still flapping its stubby wings and trying to evade the blue jay's beak. I chased off the predator and picked up the birdling: still alive, and not visibly too torn up although there was a little blood on it. I carried it to some shrubs, with my hands cupped around it, and tried to get it to perch, but the little claws weren't gripping, so it was probably pretty messed up.

I tucked it near the roots of the shrub, and it probably died later of its injuries, or a cat got it, or the blue jay finally figured out my sleight of hand and came after it again: the jay was fruitlessly searching where its prey had last been seen when I left.

And of course this could well mean that the blue jay's own fledglings went hungry this evening. Mother Nature is an unforgiving bitch sometimes.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2015 03:24 am (UTC)

You tried. Sometimes that is all you can do.

May. 12th, 2015 12:08 pm (UTC)
I remrmber a phrase I once heard my parents use - it really stuck in my head as a child, because I'd always had a hard time with scenarios such as you encountered. (I still do!) iIt was "the tender indifference of Nature." It made sense to me, or at least helped me accept the things that upset me - situations which always involved an obviously helpless underdog - with a little more understanding of the Big Picture.

Out of curiousity (old librarians never die, they just keep endlessly looking for minutiae on the Net 😉) I googled the phrase today to see its origins. It comes from Existentialist Albert Camus, and the actual phrase is "the tender indifference of the World." I rather wish I'd known that... It might have helped me cope with the angst, anger, pain, etc., I feel when I am confronted with catastrophes in the World such as the Nepal quake. Doesn't do much for the havoc we wreak on each other, unless one is prepared to look at it all as the aberrant behavior of just another one of the World's species. But since our conscience (at least in most of us) clearly knows there is a Right & Wrong, I'm not ready to go quite that far (and I'll save for another day the discussion of what the lack of conscience or unwillingness to heed it of those in positions of power has done to our planet. *sigh*)

Sorry, Cho, I don't typically wax quite so philosophical before my first cup of coffee in the a.m. Your story struck a chord (& the pain meds have probably loosened some restraints in my brain!) But good for you, for at least trying to give the little sparrow a chance. Bluejays are beautiful bullies & thieves (but there I go, anthropomorphizing when I should not!) Well, despite my clear knowledge that the jay was just being a jay, in your place I would have done exactly the same thing, except with one arm in a shoulder sling! You do what you can do, and you in particular routinely do far more for the good of the planet & our species than most people I know. *hugs*
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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