I collect feathers when I see them lying on the ground. There is something about feathers that make me feel like I can fly. Who knows what it is. I dream of birds a lot—eagles, owls, hawks, crows—and often birds come to me when I’m daydreaming. Anyone who has followed some of my blog posts know that I’ve helped out a local bird rehabilitator from time to time. Holding an owl is something I just can’t describe. Holding a Peregrine Falcon is down right thrilling.
Years ago, I found a feather in the woods around Hudson, Ohio. I walked through the woods a lot while I was living there, and this one day I found what I now know to have been the wing feather of a Barred Owl. It was beautiful. At the time, I didn’t know what it was and I went to the park ranger station to enquire. He told me what it was, showed me a model, and quickly confiscated the feather.
It’s illegal to own the feather of a bird that’s on the endangered list. But I didn’t care about that. I had found the feather and felt that I should have been able to keep it. It broke my heart to have to leave the feather behind. I vowed never to ask a park ranger about anything ever again. I promised myself that I’d do the research on my own. I’ve since become more relaxed concerning that promise.
Recently, barred owls were taken off the endangered species list. In fact, in some states, they are allowing hunters to shoot these beautiful birds. The owls are infiltrating other owl territories and forcing other owl species out, or killing them off. Barred owls are aggressive, and they’re taking the land for themselves. And, now, we’re killing them.
This all sounds so much like what our country (and other countries) do all the time. We infiltrate someone else’s land and take what we want. We shove aside or kill off whoever gets in our way (remember the Indians). There is something wrong about fiddling with nature, yet we do it every day, each and every one of us. For as much as some of us believe we’re saving one species, we’re killing off another. We edge our houses into bear country and then kill the bears that come into our yards to steal food. We clear large portions of land to build housing developments, and then kill off the snakes when they live under our porch because they have nowhere else to go.
I’m not saying any of this is good or bad, just noticing how things are, and how humans have double standards, and how a found feather one time is confiscated, and how years later, I can buy a license to kill the same bird and keep all its feathers. I wish I still had that feather. Sometimes I just want to fly away.
Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.