We got a letter recently from a reader who claims to be a bird of a different feather.
Let’s start at the beginning. A few years back (I forget how many, but that’s not important) we committed the “unpardonable sin” of print journalism—we wrote an insensitive column unbecoming for a male of the 21st century.
Now, I can tell you this: If we had known that our column on “shooting crows as a bird-hunting tune-up” would have caused such consternation among our feathered friends, we certainly would have picked a more amiable topic. The letter reads in part:
A few years ago, you and your newspaper caused me and my family enormous grief.
That’s right. In one of your columns, you mentioned how much fun it was to “fine-tune your shooting irons” during the lush summer season by “popping a few crows.”
I must say I take you to be a heartless idiot. Why on earth, would you tell people to shoot crows just to give hunters some grouse hunting practice?
Have you ever heard of targets?
I am a crow and proud of it.
And for your information, Mr. Newspaperman, crows are scavengers who help get rid of your human wastefulness. Without us, you would be overrun by disease and contagion.
I just want to let you, John Blankenship, the author of this prejudice tripe, know that I am a hard-working crow and I will stop at nothing to clear the good name of the crows in your circulation area.
Listen, you self-proclaimed bird killer, I mean business.
First, I would like to make public the hardships this horrifying column of yours has put upon my family, friends, neighbors, and me during the past few years.
Do you realize that I can no longer show my face in a garden in any of the area counties where your newspaper is circulated? Your irresponsible journalistic diatribe has turned many farmers into bird hunters.
Men, women, children, and dogs have turned against us.
Before your article came out, people were content to scare us off with a broom or a pie pan. That we can deal with, but firearms are quite a different story. How do you expect us crows to survive with a shotgun barrel pointed directly in our face when we try to take an ear of corn?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: I shouldn’t be taking corn in the first place, right?
Well, I’d just like to see you try to explain to my wife and six baby chicks that their husband and father is a thieving scoundrel. Go ahead, break their little hearts.
You must understand that work has been slow lately. I need something to fall back on. Soon it will be harvest time and there is plenty of corn to go around. There is no need to go getting guns out and shooting us.
We want to live in peace just as you do. Just last week I was putting back my primary flying feathers, after a farmer in Grandview blew them out, and I said to a friend, “Don’t you think we should just try to get along with the farmers?”
We want peace, not war.
I can’t say that we won’t’ try to get back in the gardens eventually, but for heaven’s sake, please aim a little higher or lower. Give us a flying chance.
I just want to let all the farmers, gardeners, growers, and bird killers know that I am doing my part.
Please don’t listen to this Blankenship fellow. He knows nothing. He’s a moron.
In closing, I would like all the readers of this fine online newspaper to know that the groundhogs do way more damage than all of us crows put together.
Top o’ the morning!