by Paul Cormacain
IF you find young birds that may have left the nest prematurely, leave them alone, please. Their parents may be nearby, and the parents are better than humans when it comes to looking after young birds. The only exception to this is if a predator, cat or dog, is getting uncomfortably close. Then lift the young bird onto a safe level, and walk away. RSPB common sense rule 1.
Nesting birds are protected by law, so try and not cut your hedge when there are nests, eggs and young about.
Also, do not lay poison. It is highly dangerous, it is highly illegal, it is highly lethal to birds, cats and dogs.
Let us contemplate the red kite, a large scavenger which inhabited towns like London a few centuries ago.
As humans got their garbage problem slightly improved there was less food for kites, so they gradually drifted out of the towns.
They did thrive in the countryside for there were always dying and dead animals about.
The veterinary service was not so good then, animals were always dying of old age, and at birthing there were always sure to be dead mothers and young. So there was always plenty of food for red kites, a majestic, agile bird of prey.
The red kite. also eats small mammals, birds, worms, so some folk decided it did not deserve to exist. Birds were shot, birds were poisoned, and eventually the only birds about were concentrated in mid Wales, no Irish, Scottish or English birds about. What a shame.
Then enlightened folk started to re-introduce, after an absence of a century. A foothold was established in Scotland, then more birds were brought into England, and with a concerned populace and forward-looking laws the birds' position was gradually improving.
Earlier this month a red kite from Scotland came across the Irish Sea to consolidate the closeness of the two peoples, and turned up poisoned at Carnlough. Some reception!
So do not put out poison, for as well as killing beautiful birds you may also be killing dogs and cats.
And if you are caught you might go to jail, says the RSPB. That is enough lecturing for one week, well apart from mentioning that you should still be very careful when in the country.
Foot and Mouth is still very much with us and it seems the the disease is so easy to spread. What did I read in the paper the weekend, but that a farmer is being prosecuted for introducing Mad Gummer Disease, aka BSE into his herd. So that he could claim compensation! We only have one earth. Let us look after all aspects of it.
ALL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO REVIEW. PLEASE CHECK
Saturday 2 June - There may yet be a Mourne Mountain Walk at 10.30. Check it out with Mourne Heritage on 028 4372 4059
Wednesday 6 June - There may yet be a Discovery of Glenside Woodland, at 7.30, but you can check by phoning 028 90401684
Sunday 10 June - There may yet be a Mourne Walk at 10.30 on this day, but check with 028 4372 4059
There may also be a butterfly walk at Drumlamph, at 11am, but phone Butterfly Conservation at 028 9127 5785
There may yet be a Walkathon along the Lagan Towpath at 2pm, but do contact NICHS on 028 9037 0373
A nature ramble at noon sounds good. Details from Castle Espie, 028 9187 4146
Day for Ducklings sounds good also. This is at 2pm at Oxford Island, phone 028 3832 2205
Tuesday 12 June - A Walk on the Wild Side, Slievenacloy, 7.30, rear of Colin Mountain, details from Bryson House, 028 90401684
Saturday 16June - Mourne Walk, 10.30, don't know how long it is, but find out from Mourne Heritage, 028 4372 4059.
Sunday 17 June - Grenullin Walking Festival, Garvagh, more from Jimmy McLaughlin 028 2955 8243