Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All The Brutal Tactics That You Always Employ

The Aleutian subspecies of Pacific Wren (juvenile) and Song Sparrow (adult), whom I asked to pose together for your convenience. You're welcome. Photographed on Buldir Island, Alaska.

There's been a lot of bird-blog-buzz lately about the Ivory Gull down in Arroyo Grande, and inevitably the larger discussion has been brought up about how there have been so many records (comparatively) of them in the lower 48 in the last decade, which may be indicative of some foul shit going down in their normal haunts.

Rather than play Devil's Advocate and discuss how dubious it is to draw any conclusions from this tiny sample size (14 south of Canada...much more interesting would be looking at numbers recorded in someplace like Newfoundland, where they are more prone to occur), lets accept the theory that they are having a more difficult time finding food and are putting more time and energy going to faroff places in search of delicious dead things. This, of course, is almost completely attributable to global warming, as Ivory Gulls are one of the few lucky birds who have never been threatened by direct habitat loss or overhunting.

The question is......what are you going to do about it?

The view from the Fish And Wildlife Service bunkhouse in Homer, AK. The fog is concealing Kachemak Bay, which is probably brimming with Stellar's and King Eiders at the moment.

The excuses people often use in situations like this (where it is obviously impossible for a single person to solve everything) is that there is nothing they can do, that the odds are too stacked against us, that people don't care, or that only elected officials will be able to do anything to make any difference. This, my friends, is lazy, self-serving, defeatist bullshit. There are few things that irk me more than my otherwise bright (and vivid!) friends being resigned to not even attempting to make a dent in the world they live in.

Need an example? Ok, let's take the United States. First of all, we are not a colony of England. That was pretty big. We are also not a Confederacy. Also huge. Slavery has been abolished. We have fundamental legal rights. We defeated the Japanese, then the Nazis in WWII. Women can vote. Women can have abortions. We live in an unsegregated society, with equal rights. Its OK to be gay. You can adhere to any religion you want, or none at all. We have a black president who actually took office in a legitimate fashion. Do you get where I'm going with this?

This one-footed Northern Fulmar frequently flew by my murre/kittiwake plots on Buldir Island. If you are ever down in the dumps and want to cash in your chips....remember.....somewhere out there, against all odds, is a one-footed fulmar kicking a whole lot of ass.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no patriot and am all-too-aware of all the other things we have to be ashamed of as Americans (really, painfully so), but these are not events and freedoms to be taken for granted, especially when you look at how the majority of the people in the world are living. Lots of sacrifice here. Lost lives. You get the picture.

My point? Do something, regardless of the size and scope. It's not all hopeless. Jesus...start a garden, get some solar panels, ride a bike, buy local, watch where your food comes from, consume less, get involved with one of the many great organizations that are trying to make the world a better place for Ivory Gulls and your kids. If everyone walked around with the same hopeless, cynical attitude, saying remarkably dumb shit like "Only the politicians can do anything about that", that would be a world none of us would want to live in. Nazi Germany anyone? Yeah.

Stay posi ya'll!


  1. Mr Tucker, two things, one minor, the other not-so-minor. First, the minor: your wording regarding who's ass we kicked in WWII is a bit misleading. You state "We defeated the Japanese, then the Nazis in WWII". It was actually the other way 'round. VE Day was May 9th, 1945, while VJ Day was August 14th, 1945. A minor point, to be sure.

    Secondly, that photo of the Wren and the Sparrow kicks ass. I'm not only glad you took it, but also that you posted it.

    Finally, a ridiculous music video, should you care to view it:


  2. AHHHHHHH youre right. Totally knew that. How embarrassing. Thankfully this is not a history blog.

    Wheres the video?

  3. I'm proud to be able to say I've seen Steve Tucker grow up and get back into birds and care more about things that didn't just involve alcohol and the "TING"! Everybody listen to Tucker-fucker preach the truth,yo! You da' American-Asian man!

    Brady, where's that ridiculous video?


  4. Thanks Fowler. I reckon Ive always cared about the bigger issues (thank you punk rock), but didnt bird so much for a while due to being a serious college student. No...wait a minute...its because I was so good at raging.

  5. Part of the reason there may be more Ivory Gulls being found farther south MIGHT be that we are better equipped to 1) recognize them and 2) get the word out that we've found them. And are simply able to make better note of the rarity of it all.

    However I live where the Ivory Gulls live, our ice comes in later every year, and goes out earlier. Climate change is real, and happening. You're right, time to stop talking and start doing.

    Great blog btw.