Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fear of chickens

On our vacation to Oahu, we went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. In addition to the amazing reef life there are a few other, notable critters to consider. The first is the mongoose. We saw one while we were walking on our way up to the entrance. Apparently, they were introduced to take care of the rats as there are no native snakes on the island.

It turns out that something like 99% of the flora (and probably fauna) aren't native to the area, but were brought in centuries ago for human purposes or to solve some problem. A mongoose is kind of like a squirrel (except longer) and is just as cute but has some unsavory side effects, namely that they like to eat the eggs of ground laying birds. Which is a problem.

Additionally, there are tons of wild chickens and roosters in the park. The kids were beside themselves with excitement when they first saw the chickens, especially the roosters.

On the way back to the shuttle after snorkeling, Emma and I lagged behind the group and came across a bunch of chickens that were scooting around near the bathrooms. One of the roosters came somewhat close to a teenage girl who immediately chased it off as if it were some blood sucking velociraptor. This, of course, distressed Emma considerably. She couldn't understand why someone was being so mean to a chicken and was quite upset at the mistreatment.

Sure, these were wild animals, but they were also used to being around humans since the park is always packed with tourists. But, more importantly, most people just aren't used to being around chickens (or any animals, for that matter) and view them as pests. Something to scare off, kill, get rid of, etc.

We witnessed the same sort of thing at a restaurant where pigeons and doves were looking for crumbs. The people at the table next to us were making such a huge stink about the birds milling around they just about spooked them into my dinner plate. Again, I thought it was a little weird. It wasn't like these were lions pacing back and force looking at them as if they were snacks.

Have we all gotten so far removed from nature that the first desire is to remove and/or kill any "wild" creature that approaches? Or are we just so used to living in conditions sanitized of any non-human life form that we prematurely panic?


Free Range Mama said...

We are so far removed from our food that we no longer value it. Chicken is something bought in a package at the supermarket. It isn't something that has been fed, watered, cared for, given clean bedding for several months before it was processed to be food. Most people give no thought to where our food comes from, how much work has been done to get it there, and what the sacrifice is when an animal's life is taken to provide food for people. My own experience growing and raising food has become much more than I even anticipated... I have a greater respect for the animals and I value every pea that I eat from my plate. In fact I tend to chase my kids back into the kitchen and tell them to eat that pea because I GREW IT! Thanks for the opportunity to rant :).

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

We have become far removed. I think a healthy respect for wild animals of any kind is always wise, and I certainly don't enjoy yellow jackets at my dinner table, but I do think that people just don't know how to behave any more.

One more reason I am excited to get our own backyard chickens next year!

Rae said...

The teen might also have been a local who knows that you kind of have to show an island rooster who is boss from the get-go or it can be extremely aggressive. Might mean she is actually MORE in tune with "nature" than most folks, who would think it was cute to put their hand out to pet a territorial bird...only to learn that roosters have pretty sharp bites.

Crunchy Chicken said...

@Rae - Possibly. Except the rooster was walking away from her (and paying no attention to the people nearby) when she decided to chase after it to scare it away.

Robj98168 said...

Pretty much we have become far removed. Oh sure once in awhile you see the guy at work who feeds the crows or the gal who takes out the day old bagels to the geese or the groups of international students who are fascinated by the falcons and hawks hunting above. But we put bathouses out in the wetland area and every one started to freak out. Don't walk to the sounder train at night and you will probably never see a bat. I have lived here pretty much all my life and never seen one! People... that's why my best friend is a dog!

Bootzey said...

I have been attacked by a rooster before. I wasn't fooling with it, either. And it wasn't a pleasant experience. So I can understand why the chicken-less would be fearful around feral chickens.

Greenpa said...

First time I went swimming in Hanauma bay, was 1959. The bay was a park, but still open to fishing then; local folk were using throw nets. One of them taught my older brother how to use it- and at the end of the afternoon; GAVE him the net. Hand made; the work of many days.

A different age.

When you snorkeled then; fish were small and few. It took several years after they closed it to fishing for the fish to come back; but they have. It's gorgeous. Go if you can. Stay away from the northern edge of the bay; there's a constant rip current that will take you out to sea.

Hawaiian chickens- many of them have been mixed with fighting chickens, imported long ago for cockfighting. Which is illegal, but still goes on.

Actually Spice wound up in the emergency room a year ago- our big Buff Orpington rooster attacked her; and stuck his leg spur right through her jeans and a good inch into her leg. Stuck hard; she had to pull him out. Deep puncture with crud in it...

Oh, and - squirrels; all species - eat every bird egg then can find; and ever baby bird that can't fly.

Nature, red in tooth and claw. :-)

Aimee said...

Squirrels eat eggs? Are you sure? I thought they were seed eaters pretty strictly. Weird!

Olivia said...

Years ago, when I went camping with my kids in a very wild area, a friend asked me if I wasn't afraid? I replied that I was way more scared of walking downtown in a big city than I was camping out in nature. I guess it depends on what you are used to.

EngineerChic said...

Roosters can be territorial. I wouldn't have reacted that way to it, but as others have pointed out the jerks can attack for seemingly no reason. I have a scar on my back from when I was bent over FEEDING the chickens and our stupid rooster thought it was time to show me who was boss by slamming into me with his talons.

Damn bird, of course I was happiest when it was time to eat him :) Revenge is best served cold or as pot pie.

Dea-chan said...

Well, as a Wanna-Be-Professional-Pigeon-Harasser, I get mad at them whenever they're too domesticated. So I chase them whenever they're acting far too calm around humans. So any that are consistently hovering, I stalk and stalk and stalk until the pigeon realizes I mean business and actually flies away instead of trying to hop 6" inches.

But that's me! I can't say the same for other folk. But just to give you a greenie who chases pigeons ;-)

Greenpa said...

Aimee said...
Squirrels eat eggs? Are you sure? I thought they were seed eaters pretty strictly. Weird!

:-) Yep, I'm sure. It turns out that many animals are opportunistic omnivores. Squirrels more than just a little.