January 22, 2006

Rats on Stilts ate my Daphne Odora

There are many good parts about living with my backyard adjoining a woodland creek. I often see robins, cardinals, and bluebirds, and my botanical heart rejoices in games of "Name that Plant".

The downside is the herd of deer. Not a unique problem in my neighborhood; the only natural predator they have in Fairfax County is automobiles, and the extremely limited amount of hunting isn't sufficient to keep down the population. Results include my Mom brandishing a ladder to chase one away from her garden, as well as a now-leafless Daphne Odora that will need decent burial.

But I should count myself lucky. At least I don't have to deal with these:

Ted Hart isn't too fond of the flesh-eating vultures that live on his roof. Their droppings are everywhere, they destroy chimneys with their hulking frames, and they frighten his 14-year-old daughter so much that she doesn't like to walk outside anymore.

The solution in some places would be to grab a shotgun and call it a day.

But in Columbia, the planned community that prides itself as the definition of progressive living, anything that would harm the birds is off the table. Hart said the vultures might be "encouraged" to leave, but not by any show of violence.

"We are a community that is going to respect the fact that the birds have a right to be here," said Hart, president of the homeowners association of the Gables at Columbia. "We're not going to jump to the most mean-spirited, hateful option, even though it might be expedient." ...

Read the whole article. As my Dad said, "Smart birds."

Posted by jeffreyb at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)