To follow up with some more candidates for Israel’s bird poll, here are two more beauties: the Barn Owl (‘Tinshemet’ in Hebrew) and the Lesser Kestrel (‘Buz Adom’). This whole exercise seems to be an interesting lesson in exploring human anthropocentrism in naming other species.
We don’t really understand what’s “lesser” about such a fine creature as this, but we can reccommend some fine spots in the upper Negev where you can see these majestic soaring creatures.
And some sad news: yesterday we found the dead body of a ringed small yellow tufted sunbird in central Jerusalem. It was probably mauled by wild cats.
As to the issue of anthropocentrism: is it wrong for ‘wild’ cats (or even domestic cats) to kill birds? In terms of protecting the environment and all her species, are we best to just try to protect the environment or the eco-system from us, and leave the rest of Gaia’s species to fight their way to the top of the food chain?
How does naming other species help them? Or us, really? Even ringing the birds is really just an exercise for us in damage control – does the trauma of catching and ringing the bird have a longer impression than not? And having asked these questions, we have to ask: by naming these birds, and choosing these out of the many other varieties, and by choosing one to represent the place of Israel – the people, the land, the entire eco-system of the place that is Eretz Israel, from biblical times to the current modernity, how will that benefit the life of each and every sentient living being born as that type of bird?
We say let’s challenge benign paternalism to other species, as it makes us woolly human beings, and woolly-minded environmentalists.
This has been a post full of searching questions. We here on Green Prophet do sometimes have ‘dark nights of the soul’ about the environment and particularly about the impact of humans in the environment.
All feedback and reflective thoughts welcome, and remember, do keep your bird sightings and comments coming, and please keep voting! Do it here!
Other Green Prophet related posts: ‘Review of ‘The Lost & Left Behind’ by Terry Glavin,