It’s hard not to anthropomorphize…

July 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm (Critters, Meanderings)

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”–Khalil Gibran

I learned today that one of the peregrine falcon chicks that recently fledged from a nest box in downtown Boise has died.  Apparently, Madge Ellen (Maggie for short), as she was informally dubbed, hit a high voltage line.  It is a sad fact that while peregrines have adapted well to nesting in cities, there are dangers to them there that don’t exist in the wild (although the wild has dangers of its own, of course).  According to a citation in this Wikipedia article, the mortality rate for young peregrines is 59 to 70 percent, so something like this is not unexpected, or even unusual.  And still, I am sad.  I become even more sad when I think about the parents.  Do they wonder where she is? Are they mourning her?  I know there are many out there that would scold me for anthropomorphizing these amazing creatures.  But who am I to judge whether or not they feel emotion?

I know that what I am feeling is real, though.  There have been some major stresses in my life in the past few months and watching the baby peregrines grow has been a great source of comfort, delight and amazement to me.  I suppose that makes the pain this loss brings somewhat easier to bear. Good bye, Maggie! You were a delight to so many in your short time with us.



  1. Lily said,

    I found your blog via Ravelry (apparently, we have 3 patterns in common!) and just on first glance I know I’m going to love it! See you again soon.

    • Mary said,

      Hi Lily,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I will have to take a look at your Rav page. What is your user name?


  2. Lily said,

    my blog and my ravelry username are the same – lilyhasanothergo

  3. Jeremy said,

    Did you know that birds have a critical age in which they learn birdsongs, just as humans have a critical age in which they learn language? I thought that was pretty interesting. Apparently if a bird is not exposed to other birds at this age, they will not be able to communicate as well with their birdsongs and bird calls. They learn “bird language” during a critical period of development when they are young, just as humans do.

    • scarymaryquitecontrary said,

      Well it certainly took me forever to reply to your comment! I watched a really cool documentary series called “The Life of Birds” that you should look into, if it’s possible to find stuff like that where you are. It’s amazing how much more similar the human animal is to other critters we share the planet with than we like to admit.

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