This article in todays’ New York Times is about an area in Missouri that has recognized the wonder of their rapidly declining bird populations. There are bird watcher tours with waiting lists. The locals have built blinds so the visitors can get a good view. A few weeks ago a long time friend of mine gave a presentation to the local mens’ group about Sauk City Wisconsin that has done a similar thing with their bald eagle populations. I am sure that both groups are pleased at the inflow of revenue.
Here on the island we have a similar situation — we are known as an IBA (Important Bird Area) in international surveys. There is an area at the end of the island called the Owl Woods due to its large population of wintering owls. We have seen eagles hunting over our backyard and had a heron walk up through the grass to inspect our life-size african heron sculpture.
But the difference is that the island resident and transient bird populations are condemned to death because the area has been targetted for redevelopment as a wind farm. So the natural wonders we have been blessed with will be destroyed over time and the place we love turned into a empty space eventually populated by rusting, abandoned towers that no one will be able to afford to remove.
I am reminded of the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Not content to get a stream of wealth over a long time, a plan was laid to cut open the goose and get all the eggs at once. Neither the goose nor the egg supply survived. The story here and around is much the same — they can get a quick influx of cash by sacrificing the area now. The work and patience over time to develop the natural resources is just not as appealing. I would speculate that had development been the path rather than the quick grab the benefits would be long lasting and perhaps even greater — certainly everyones’ lives would be richer. But then, who cares about the future? I am glad that some people do — the rest are condemned to suffer the loss from their lust for instant gratification. Too bad.