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Nature’s Course (what’s for dinner?)

Food.  Survival.  Nature.  Balance.  Think about how often we notice these words come to life in the world when they involve animals.  What is our initial reaction, what are our choices, and how do we actually respond?  I had a backyard episode recently that involved a true life and death situation unfold.

The scenario:  A cacophony of domestic and wild life erupted as I turned away from the berry bushes.  My dogs were barking.  Birds were screeching and crying.  A small flock of robins contributing to the screeching were filling up the lilacs and forsythias.    A cat was hissing and bounding through the yard chasing an apparently wounded juvenile robin.

The questions:  Am I bound by own nature to interfere with what appears to be nature taking its course?  Is what I’m feeling wrong that at some point I am tied into rescuing this helpless creature or am I being selective in my acts of “heroism”?

We are often told to let nature take its course.  The scenario is merely what happens in the wild every moment, we just aren’t there as witnesses.  To interrupt the flow of nature may be wrong on several levels.  For those of us who live in the country or semi-rural areas this scene of predation is presented to us on nature’s stage in various degrees of intensity and frequency.  There is the common, feeding act of a bird grabbing an insect or pulling a worm out of the ground.  I once stood mesmerized watching a colorful moth dance across the grass, only to have her review cut short by a bluebird who decided it was time for a snack!  The final act of this play was dramatic and swift!  I felt honored to be in the audience!  Perhaps you’ve encountered a snake consuming its prey or watched a fish dart through the water catching flies, larva, and other smaller species of fish.  They are all part of the natural order of keeping the environment balanced, healthy, and nourished.  We accept most of this behavior from the wild side.

Can we accept what happens, though, when our domesticated species become involved?  In my situation dogs and cats were thrown into the scene.  Although the dogs were merely reacting to the presence of the cat and the eruption of noise, they raised the drama level a few decibels with their barking and howling.  My experience of watching other people’s reactions to similar events along with my own noticeable pensiveness while witnessing similar acts shifts the care factor to a relationship of familiarity and endearment.  The greater we are attuning to the species involved – regardless of predator or prey – the greater our reaction.  And when it involves our beloved pets it can most heart-wrenching indeed; even when they are merely observers!  Place them as the predator and they may get a scolding.  Of course we never want them to be viewed as prey, but even the goldfish and koi in our backyard ponds can be subject to the passing raptor or egret.  They are all given to us by our Creator to care for and tend to.  At some level we must allow them to be what they were created to be.

So feel free to tell me: what have you done or what do think you’d do in a situation such as this?  Please respect all views as I do.  Peace!

  1. Sheri
    June 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Congratulations! This is a wonderful blog ~ entertaining & insightful! 🙂

  2. Rosanna
    June 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Generally, I feel a certain responsibility for the actions of my domestic animals and, by extension, for my neighbor’s domestic animals. Thus, had I been witness to this scenario, I may have interfered. I might react by calling the dogs off, perhaps, and running the cat out of the yard. (I’d run the cat off only because I have never had a cat come when I called it away from its prey, but many times I have seen him drop his prey and run.)

    Yet in the split second before I took any action, I would assess the situation. Were the baby robin mostly unharmed or, at least, have a good chance of surviving, I would take action. Were the baby robin severely injured, I would expect the cat to finish what it started and take the poor bird to a swift peace.

    I have similar impulses toward the birds who nest in the houses I provide. By taking up residence in the bird houses, they become part of my extended household and fall loosely under my protective umbrella. The birds who build their own nests in the trees and grasses, on the other hand, are on their own in dealing with non-domestic predators. The hunters have as much right to live as the hunted. A world that has one without the other is a world out of balance.

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