Does Familiarity Really Breed Contempt?

By Rob

I don’t think the old phrase, “familiarity breeds contempt” applies to nature conservation.  If anything, it’s the opposite.  Years ago, when I had first moved from the suburbs to the city for college, I often saw pigeons congregating in disorganized flocks.  They strutted around, not even caring about cars barreling down the street.  Once they did become bored and decided to move on, they often left a mess behind.  I heard quite a few other folks refer to them as “rats with wings.”  Yes, they are indeed as ubiquitous in a city as the rodents that people fear will infiltrate their food cupboards.  They’re brazen, willing to swoop around an unsuspecting tourist like mosquitoes seeking a quick blood meal.  They’re unwanted, with the only way to keep them off historic landmarks is by placing sharp metal spikes.  Why should anyone care for these messy, bothersome birds that probably harbor mites? Continue reading