Thursday, December 20, 2012

Not all bird attacks are hoaxes

As a bad animal watcher, I was disappointed yesterday to find out that that viral video of an eagle snatching up a toddler was actually a class project in a digital animation program.

Disappointed, you say? Yes, because finding out that this was a hoax means that people will let their guard down. But just because that particular bird of prey was a fake doesn't mean these animals are not a hazard.

Take the recent case of an eagle owl that was making itself at home in a neighborhood in Devon, England. Owls are strangely fashionable these days, practically a mascot of cute for young hipsters and crafters. No doubt this reputation influenced residents who developed a fondness for the bird, one of whom even allowed it to make itself at home in his living room. "He isn’t harming anyone. He was like a pet cat," said the man.

Well, perhaps he was, seeing that we've seen cat attacks so bad that people ended up in the hospital, but soon enough it became clear to others that a predator with a six foot wingspan is not a good neighbor. One local said he'd stopped letting his children play in the yard after the bird attacked their gardener, scratching him on the neck and drawing blood. Another said:
“We haven't been able to let our three young grandchildren out in the garden for months. We got more concerned when the owl tried to attack our poodle Minnie.”
A perfect example of how confused people are about these matters, observe this same man's bizarre ambivalence after expressing relief at the news that the owl has been captured and moved to a wildlife sanctuary:
We love the bird to bits. We have seen it in our garden since February, but it was just the risk it was posing. We were beginning to feel really trapped in our home and it really has been a worry."
People: When a violent criminal is stalking your neighborhood, committing bloody attacks, and trapping you in your homes? It's OK to be happy when it's taken into custody. Even if it's an animal.

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