how much help is the right amount?
A fight broke out in a Facebook birding group the other day. Some people thought the cowbird egg should be removed so the the Carolina wren chicks would have a chance. Others pointed out that cowbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and removing their eggs from a nest is illegal. Someone said that if you remove their eggs from the nest cowbirds have been known to retaliate against the wrens. Someone else commented that cowbirds are lazy and evil by human standards. (They don’t build their own nests or raised their own chicks.) One person wanted to know since when do we judge wildlife by human standards?
Today there was a frenzy on Nextdoor when someone posted about an elderly lady who has no food for her cat, could probably use some clothes, size medium, and may need food for herself as well. So far there are 75 comments offering suggestions (meals on wheels, food banks, someone should call her daughter, etc.), there are offers to drop off cases of cat food (does she need wet or dry?), how about cat litter, offers of used clothing, offers of people food, offers to call DoorDash. Someone warned that the elderly have been known to eat cat food if they run out of people food. Did you know that the Kingdom Fellowship Center is giving away whole chickens on June 19?
Here’s one of the 75 comments:
Forget Meghan & Harry, this is ‘Compassion in Action,’ thank you Nextdoor. Whatever she needs help with I am happy to shop for food items, help with cleaning, organize contacts and perhaps make sure information is large, readable and attached to the door of her refrigerator.
Here’s another of the 75 comments (the post included the street address of the lady who purportedly needs help):
I just delivered a box of Meals on Wheels meals to her and she brought the box back out to me after she had opened it. She said she could not eat any of those meals. I asked her why and she said she just couldn’t. So she may have food restrictions and may not be able to eat the food that people want to offer her.
The helpers then started wondering if there were dental considerations. Maybe the lady also needs a microwave?
I think if I were a wren I’d like it if someone took the cowbird egg out of my nest. Evidently now there are TWO cowbird eggs in that nest. Someone suggested putting out a feeder with mealworms to help the wrens feed all four chicks.
If I were the lady whose address is displayed today on Nextdoor, I am quite sure I’d like to be privately asked by my neighbor if there’s anything I need, and not have people I don’t know showing up at my door with charity boxes, cleaning my house unasked, or posting signs on my refrigerator.
But I am neither a wren or a cat lady, so what do I know? I guess I’ll let nature, human and avian, take its course.