An ill wind blows as 'green' turbines continue to kill rare Sea Eagles...
"and I find for the first time in my life that I turn away from the sea. Where once a soul could seek peace in the infinite view and find refreshment in the constantly playful breeze, now it is ill winds that are blowing around our coasts from the menacing turbines."
We were strolling with our new pooch today along the coast of the Wirral Peninsula (in North Western England).
I love a coastal ramble but in this part of the world, where once was a vast open vista of sea and sky that refreshed both the senses and the spirit, there is now a horizon entirely dominated by terrifying wind turbines, some of the tallest in the world.
Regular readers will know that I detest these things, inefficient monsters that destroy our environment and harm wildlife. And that is aside from the fact that they are a horrible blot on our precious seascapes (and landscapes where they appear onshore). Once it was possible to look out to sea and imagine infinity, to allow the mind to contemplate unlimited possibilities; now the view has been sullied and that spirit of inner peace and freedom quashed.
Instinctively I knew these turbines were a harmful development in the world as soon as they began to raise their ugly heads, and this feeling was borne out by reports of the horrible side effects that came along with the folly of wind energy. Detrimental to environment and life, the destructive machines masquerade under a sinister cloak of good intention. It is the very thing we were warned about in folk tales, the proverbial wolf dressed as a sheep.
Sold to the world as a force for good, wind farms are but a dark tool of those who would wantonly destroy the natural wonders that we treasure.
It was with dismay that I heard this week of yet another very rare eagle being killed by the blades of a turbine. Such happenings are common though rarely reported.
This time it was in the Netherlands at a wind farm in Lelystad. The site of the wind farm is close to a nature reserve that has, with tragic irony, been a safe refuge for the endangered Sea Eagles since they were reintroduced to the country a little over a decade ago. The female eagle was believed to be around five years old and had collided with the fast spinning turbine blades at a height of 100 metres. According to experts at Wageningen University, she had broken legs, a broken wing and multiple internal wounds.
A sad end for a majestic creature.
Hundreds of thousands of eagles and other birds are being killed by wind turbines and with most of the deaths being undocumented, the general public remain largely unaware of the destruction caused to bird life by the banks of turbines which are heavily marketed as being 'green' and 'environmentally friendly', clearly a deception. The desperately threatened Sea Eagles in Europe are one of the biggest casualties.
The development of offshore wind farms around our coast, and the coasts of many other countries, is causing huge environmental harm as massive wind turbines are installed in vast 'farms' out at sea. It's nothing less than large scale industrial development and would be never be tolerated onshore. Yet we are allowing it to happen in the last wilderness on our planet – the ocean. In fact many governments are actively promoting this industrialisation of our seas - without our consent. Energy companies, and suspect environmental lobby groups with an interest in the wind industry, employ celebrities to endorse their spin, their intention being to mislead the public into believing that wind energy is a force for good, while pollution and a serious threat to wildlife are just two reasons to suggest that it isn't. Another is that once our coast is blighted by turbines, much like the vandalism that has already been caused by onshore wind farms, there is no turning back. The damage will have been done.
Meanwhile when I walk along the coast here, I find for the first time in my life that I turn away from the sea. Where once a soul could seek peace in the infinite view and find refreshment in the constantly playful breeze, now it is ill winds that are blowing around our coasts from the menacing turbines.
"Like kindred spirits, the birds and I, we sheltered together from the rain."
It was a particularly busy day in town, the kind of day when you are suddenly aware that something is awry with the world.
I felt detached from that world as I watched people scurrying about, clutching carrier bags bursting with stuff they had bought but didn't need. Such is the power of advertising and consumerism.
While the chaos of life rushed by me, through the haze of people I spotted an elderly man sitting on a bench under a tree on the main street that passes through the town centre. I'd seen him before, he was often there.
He was holding a bag, but his bag wasn't full of shopping on this cold October day, it was filled with bits of brown bread and other treats for the birds, mostly pigeons but also a few sparrows, that were flocking around him on the pavement at the base of the tree and perching on the arm of the bench on which the old man sat.
The world weary man smiled at the birds as they eagerly scrambled for the crumbs that he was throwing for them.
I went and sat down on the bench and the old man nodded to me. I watched a bird land and another one fly away with a piece of bread. The old man offered me a few crusts to throw for the pigeons. I took some. The birds, deciding that I could be trusted, began to take the food from me, some of them bold enough to snatch it from my fingers. It made me smile.
“Do you sit here and feed them every day?” I asked the man. He nodded. “Yes, the birds need me but...”, he hesitated, “you know I need them more...”.
“I'm curious”, I said, “as to why you would think that”. His answer startled me. “Souls of the dead”, he replied without looking up; he spoke quietly as if he were telling me a secret, “birds are the winged spirits of those who have passed on, that's what I believe and that's why I come to feed them, it's like seeing old friends again, every day. It's like they never went away.”
I didn't quite know what to say. I carried on throwing food to the birds. Then one of them, a brown and white pigeon, landed on the bench and walked across to the old man. “This one,” he said, “this one I don't know, but she seems to know me. I can't remember who she is. Perhaps I don't even know her, but that's okay, it's always good to meet new friends, isn't it?”
“Yes,” I answered, “it really is”.
We chatted a little more, he told me a few things about his life. He was lonely.
I had to go but I decided that I would buy some food for the birds and return the next day to feed them and to see my new friend, the old man. I didn't know his name but I would ask him many things when I saw him again.
I said goodbye and he waved to me as I disappeared into the swirling crowds.
The next day I went to a pet shop and bought some wild bird seed. I separated it into two bags, one for the old man and one for me, so that we could feed the birds together and chat some more. I felt happy as I walked through town to visit the old man and the birds.
Through the surging hordes of shoppers, I could see the bench. But the old man was not there. My heart sank as I noticed that neither were there any birds. A sign had appeared on the tree next to the bench “Do not feed the birds – penalty £100”.
I never did see the old man again. And the birds had gone too but I found them in another part of town, away from the frenzy of shoppers, near a railway embankment that was strewn with litter, blown there from the overflowing bins in the town centre. The brown and white pigeon, the one that had made such an impression on the old man, was there too. Although there was no bench, I found a tree stump and sat down while I threw the seed to the birds. One of them hopped up on to my lap and took some of the food from the palm of my hand.
The old man's words came back to me. “It's like meeting old friends again every day”. It started to rain and the birds flew away. I could see them under the eaves of a derelict building nearby. I stood in the doorway of the building. Like kindred spirits, the birds and I, we sheltered together from the rain.
That was many years ago. Now I'm an old man and I feed the birds every day, though there aren't as many as there used to be. As it is with all friends, the circle grows smaller with time. Funny though, the brown and white pigeon still comes to see me. The sight of her gives me comfort. It brings to mind something I once wrote....
A soul in such a humble dove,
the harbinger of peace arrives.
she speaks with me of hope and love,
the universe and many lives.
And if my world should fall apart,
my days and years should go awry,
though heavy rocks might still my heart,
In her, I hear a lullaby.
If you enjoy feeding wild birds, please sign my petition: HERE
story and poem © Jason Endfield 2018
In a bizarre move, Regents Park in London is to 'ban' Canada Geese because it claims that the geese pose a danger to the public.
London's royal parks have become notorious for their callous treatment of wildlife which has included mass culling of the animals that inhabit these popular oases of calm in the city, 11,000 animals slaughtered by park authorities at the last count...
Now it seems that the 400 geese which have been regular summer visitors to the park for years will no longer be welcome due to the 'danger' posed to the general public by the birds' droppings, which the park authorities claim make surfaces slippery.
But rather than tackle the problem, they have decided that banning the birds entirely will be the most sensible solution. Hmm. One really has to marvel at such intellect...
The geese arrive annually in order to spend a few weeks at the park's boating lake while they moult. Most people enjoy watching their characterful antics and might well be nonplussed at the park's baffling decision which will involve fencing off the lake to prevent the geese from taking their annual summer holiday. There is no mention as to where the geese will go when they find their usual destination closed to them....
Surely one of the primary reasons people visit parks is to encounter wildlife and it is often the only opportunity for town and city dwellers to enjoy nature in urban environments.
This stupid decision is just another reason to question the competence of the Royal park authorities and one wonders where the nonsense will end.
Perhaps only when they have eradicated all of the wildlife for which the parks are justly famous.
There has been so much kind interest in my campaign to stop councils from imposing fines on people whose only 'crime' is feeding wild birds. Victimisation of decent, law abiding people (often the more vulnerable in our society) is not something that we should accept, it is wrong and cruel.
Our petition is doing well, we have about 1100 signatures as I write and I've contacted the relevant department in British government with my proposal to set up areas in towns and cities where good people can feed the birds without fear of being persecuted.... there is a worrying intolerance towards those who care for urban wildlife and it's a trend among the less informed to view pigeons and gulls (and other wild creatures) as 'vermin' which is incredibly ignorant.
Anyway I thought I'd share with you some of the comments I've received from those signing my petition and championing our cause. I couldn't include them all here but each and every one has been read and appreciated. The comments speak for themselves but one recurring theme is that of compassion, something that seems to be in short supply in 2018....
Thank you all for your support and please keep sharing the petition, for the sake of all of us who value our human right to show compassion, our freedom of choice - and especially for the birds.
"I am one of those who derive so much pleasure interacting with these dear birds. I suffer with chronic depression and, for a small while, these interactions make me happy."
"I would love nothing more than to be able to feed the pigeons in designated areas - please allow us this pleasure ."
"Pigeons are beautiful animals that warm the heart and lift the spirit. Just as they benefit us through their behavior and trusting nature, so should we benefit them through food and providing a safe living and nesting environment."
"Omg! Feeding wildlife is a crime? Whats wrong with you!? I feed birds every week, it's called compassion, and it makes me and the birds happy!"
"compassion is a trait to be celebrated..."
"I feed the pigeons everyday. It's something I look forward to. The birds trust me which is a pleasure to see. I've been insulted and threatened. I care not a jot. I will carry on feeding them......"
"All birds need food. Once again humans deciding which ones they "like" and which are "vermin"...."
"Kindness should be applauded not fined"
"Porque no somos delincuentes. Somos sensibles y amante de los animales"
..."we are not criminals. We are sensitive and loving of the animals...."
"We have taken over their habitat. We owe them."
"I'm signing because I love birds"
"The birds might be the only regular contact that these people have with another living being....."
"Pigeons and other birds pose no threat or health risk to humans. We should embrace our wildlife, not punish it for us taking over their natural habitat. The least we humans can do is have some compassion."
"Something is very wrong in the world if we punish compassion and encourage cruelty."
"Feeding the birds is simply showing empathy. Is that wrong?"
Thanks to you all, lovely people, your support is heartwarming, Jase 😊
Sign the petition HERE (and please carry on sharing!)
Lament For A Lost Tree
Hacked to pieces.
The majestic Larch which we awaited every spring bursting, as it did, into bright lime green, renewed and fresh, a sign of hope for one and all. We saw it from the back windows of our house and it lifted the spirit and refreshed the soul.
Now it is gone.
This morning I heard the chainsaws and my heart sank. I hoped against hope that it wasn't the Larch, that perhaps it was just some fool stupidly cutting their overgrown ivy in the midst of winter's snow and ice, as fools are wont to do.
But it was so much worse, it was a team of hooligans, masquerading as tree 'surgeons' in bright dayglo jackets as if they cared, hacking down the beautiful Larch.
The ignorant perpetrators probably thought that it was dead; the Larch, a majestic tree in its summer splendour, being the only deciduous member of the conifer family. Here it was in deep winter sleep, but the sap was rising. And although ignorance may be bliss for some, it is no excuse for desecration.
In the whole neighborhood, there now remains just one single mature tree, a lone oak. The people who own the garden, where this oak lives, are lovers of nature so there is hope that their appreciation will extend to this final surviving tree.
But for now, I close the door to the back rooms of our house as the chainsaw rattles on and the last remaining limbs of the Larch fall to the ground, its spirit extinguished and its beauty lost.
The Larch, her fresh green light in spring,
will no more hear my spirit sing.
I watched in anguish, broken hearted,
as she fell, her soul departed.
Hacked and murdered, killed by fools
whose reckless whim was learnt in schools.
Where once they'd teach appreciation
now they just preach desecration.
The Larch which stood a hundred years
through war and peace, through joy and tears.
Goodbye companion, mighty tree.
My friend and my soliloquy.
© Jason Endfield 2018
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