Monday, January 22, 2007

stupid question time

OK...hopefully some total strangers will give me an opinion on this one, because at the moment I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about it.

So, here goes. Most of what I have done for the last two and a half years has been in the wildlife rehabilitation field, so this is now my 3rd summer of it. And what happens with wildlife, is that, depending on species, anytime from early spring thru to early autumn, they have babies. Of our roughly 8000 cases last year, I'd guess that 90% of them were younglings of one kind or another, for a whole bunch of reasons. Nests blow down, babies fall, fledglings jump, cats and dogs bring them in, trees get cut down, houses get demolished. Whatever. We get lots. In the 1st summer I was still pretty unsure of myself, and I can't remember bringing much home for extra TLC. I also wasn't getting that many rescue calls, after hours etc.

Last year and this year though, there are a quadrillion people out there with my phone number, and they pass it on etc. And depending on location and time etc I get a whole lot that I fetch or are delivered, and need care for a day or so till I can take them through to the centre. Then there are my own sweet babies - the feral pigeons and mynahs that the centre doesn't treat, and I collect them from all over and raise them. The pigeons I release at home, the mynahs are hand-reared as pets (they are so, so clever! and funny! and lovable! after all, the reason they came to the country centuries ago was as pets for lonely migrant sugarcane workers), but they all need regular feeds. And then, when the centre is packed out, especially over Dec when we have less volunteers available than usual, there are also the extra needs babies. Some of the birds have really fast metabolisms, and need feeding every 30 mins. Lots of them need feeding for longer hours than the centre is staffed. The mammals need night feeds. So the more senior volunteers are often expected to "bring our work home with us". He he.. that sounds good! What it means though is a lot of us travel with babes of one kind or another for about 6 months of the year.

Anyway, my very special duckbuddy who I am having coffee with tomorrow (yay! been short on duck rations the last couple of weeks!), told me earlier that me bringing birds to coffee places - in this case, an open air garden shop place - makes her uncomfortable. That she sees people look disapprovingly at me when I feed the birds.
Who all get syringe-fed, mostly in their carry-basket. I haven't ever noticed any disapproval - normally the reverse. People want to see them, and touch them if they can, especially when they have kids.

So the question for the night : would you (keep wanting to say y'all thanks to red,redwhine's GG!) have any objection to seeing baby birds or animals in a restaurant where you were eating? Bearing in mind they don't get to fly around or anything like that. Would you mind if they were brought to your house, etc?

I really don't know - it's never been something I'd have a problem with. On the other hand, I find women breastfeeding in public pretty gross. And I hate it when I am sitting in a smoking area and people bring kids in - makes me feel bad for polluting their lungs, even if it is at their parents instigation. But I wouldn't mind dogs or any other animal being around while I eat.

Well...if anyone reads this...let me know what you think?

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