Enraptured by Raptors in Westchester…


Among the presentations at the festival was “Close Encounters With Birds of Prey,” a kind of Raptors 101 given by Bill Streeter of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center.

Among the presentations at the festival was “Close Encounters With Birds of Prey,” a kind of Raptors 101 given by Bill Streeter of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center.


Dear Feeling Friends,

In this February 12th, 2009 New York Times article,  reporter Kate Stone Lombardi covers the “Eagle Fest, an event that has been held annually for the last five years to celebrate the return of the bald eagle to the lower Hudson Valley.” How exciting is her mention of the people of all ages, tripods and cameras at the ready to view the blooming population of Bald Eagles, the American National Bird, in Westchester. Many of the bird pairs are transplants from Alaska, some of whom do migrate to and fro each year.

Though I did not attend…(had I only known, thinks she wistfully), it seems like it was a great event given our recent Canada Geese / Jetliner conflict in Manhattan. It seems to me encouraging that there are people in our great State who appreciate different avian species for their inherent value as living beings who share our urban and semi-urban spaces.

I chose the above photograph because of the resemblance between Misters Streeter (human) and Barney (avian). Every life form has a counterpart that cares for its continued survival, something akin to what humans call Love and Concern, so to see an inter-species resemblance at an event in which there is an abiding concern for the survival of these Eagles and other Raptors seemed a fitting focal point for reminding ourselves that humans don’t have existential priority, we just have (sometimes destructive, sometimes ameliorative) technology. There is a difference. This event was a shining example of ameliorative technology for/ knowledge about breeding eagles in captivity, releasing them to the wild and ongoing population maintenance and surveillance.

To be clear, while I generally frown upon “species management” and surveillance of any kind, to see it used for the benefit of Others is heartening and heartwarming.

Link to the NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/nyregion/westchester/15eagleswe.html


Geese and their Message lost in NYC Plane Accident

Dear Feeling Friends,

A moment of silence for the gruesome deaths of the geese, sucked into and killed by the engines of a US Airways Airbus (plane)  in New York City, this 15th of January 2009.

Thank You.

Unfortunately, I could not embed these videos, but you can view them at their host sites:

For a clip about the birds, as well as Witness and Survivor accounts.

The news reports in the New York Times City Room section, and Wired News ofer mind-bending detailed information about the goings on, prayers, sentiments of the crash survivors, thankfully none of whom were killed or seriously injured beyond the shock of the crash.

However, as they say half the story has never been told.

What kinds of geese were killed? How many? Were there any survivors? Are their remains floating in the river? How does this affect their population?  Do air traffic controllers and those who predetermine viable flight paths refer to scientific or even lay information about migration paths in order to courses least prone to collision?

In the Wired News article, a retired pilot said that the controllers warn of birds in the area, but clearly a vague, often consequence-free warning is not enough. Knowledge ofthe birds habits, nesting places and migration paths would reduce or even eliminate future incidences.

On a spiritual note, the Goose as a totem brings certain lessons, specifically:

To carry Goose medicine is to carry the energy of the journey of the great quest, to set a high goal and find the right ways to navigate towards it. Goose also comes to teach us how to navigate the greatest turbulence in our lives as well as how to make greater headway when things are going well.

This can be a teachable moment: here we are presented with the miraculous preservation of human life in a situation when it could have been lost. We can interpret the loss of Avian life as the Goose totem sending us a message writ in their blood:  We humans must and can do better. We must be different than we have been. We must know, love and respect the other life forms with which we share this city. Not doing harms us all.

Just  how much money, time, paperwork, gasoline, therapy hours and and Avian life could have been saved with the knowledge and integration of basic information about Geese migration patterns into available flight plans in a given season? Our disregard for the loss of aavian life today is a stain on the human claim to species superiority. With all the resources available to us to preserve and save life, our ignorance of non-human beings in New York City caused unnecessary avian death, human emotional shock, damage to our already sick Muhheakantuck river or the Hudson River as we know it,  loss of collateral (airplane) and a long, diesel-fuel expensive day for our city services (EMT, Fire Department, Coast Guard, Ferries and public officials).

As today’s events are processed in the public domain, I am interested to learn how people integrate the lessons ‘wing-delivered’ to us today.

Rest in Peace, Geese. Ashe.