posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:18 PM
The numbers aren't surprising, given that our approach to problem animals is generally to exterminate rather than to use other methods.
Disclaimer: I do a lot of volunteer work for several Audubon parks. I'm very concerned about wildlife and birds.
There are several problems entwined here:
* food crops: The birds that were killed are mainly ones that eat our crops when they're hungry. While nobody would begrudge a small flock of birds
some grain, flocks of tens of thousands descend on wheat fields sometimes and can devour all the grain if they roost in that area. We destroyed their
food source (grasslands) to plant our wheat and gave them in return a super-abundance of seeds. When they survived and thrived and multiplied, we
* health issues: I don't know if you're aware of how large flocks of grackles get, but they can number in the tens of thousands. They don't do
well in forests and so forth, but our cities are prime areas for them (they need a lot of land with few trees and lots of food.) We spend a lot of
money cleaning up grackle poop from our cars, sidewalks, and so forth. There's health risks from a lot of grackle/pigeon guano.
(*** this is actually one problem I intend to research later this year (formal scientific research, with paper to follow), by mapping WHERE species
of birds perch/roost in cities. Some areas seem to have thousands while other nearby areas seem to have none. I want to track where and when these
birds flock to see what the differences are in areas where they aren't as common. Changing the environment is a better solution, IMHO.***)
* environmental issues: some of the animals (feral hogs, for example) destroy the environment for other species that aren't doing so well -- species
we would LIKE to save. There's no real good way of dealing with these animals ... yet. Perhaps rounding them up and treating them as regular farm
pigs (I don't think this would be easy because they're very dangerous animals) might be a solution, but I don't know.
* human crowding: We keep building houses and using land. Coyotes and bears and cougars and raccoons are adaptable enough to move in and use our
garbage and thrive. We need better land management and restriction of food sources (so they eat their own food and don't become scavengers of our
garbage -- there's a lot more of our garbage than there is of their food, so there's no natural control of the population.) I'd like to see more
apartments and row houses (freeing up land) than ranchettes and houses with neatly mowed lawns on acres of land that could better be used by prairie
birds and insects.
I don't have any good solutions. I can see why it's done, but I don't like it. I think the answer lies in coming to some sort of balance between
human basic needs (food, shelter, etc) and the needs of the animals (including the need to have nice fat bugs to eat.)
The Google earth map is a bit deceptive because you have "reported numbers" ("tons of fish"... who weighed those tons? How were they calculated?)
but I like the data tracking there and will use it in other research.