Monday, May 12, 2008

Species bias

The New York Times printed an article about "biobigotry," the negative feelings one generates toward certain animal species. The author cites brown-headed cowbirds as a bird she dislikes for its malicious parasitic nesting. The article discusses how we anthropomorphize the characteristics of animals, e.g., calling squirrels gluttonous. Non-native species are also victims of biobigotry. House sparrows, rock doves and european starlings are good examples.

I try not to do this too much, but I do have blind spots. I sometimes dislike the invasives that rule our city, I say things like "the crows are having a convention" when they are cawing a lot, and enjoy seeing an underdog red-winged blackbird mob a red-tailed hawk. The implication for habitat restoration is interesting, too, as these endeavors are centered on removing non-native plants--serious biobigotry perhaps.

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