June 4, 2007

Lake Mendota, yesterday.

There were a lot of sailboats...

Sailboats

A lone heron, out there...

Heron

That red-winged blackbird, nesting in the willow...

Red-winged blackbird

The fishing guy went in knee deep...

Fisherman

And the poor chipmunk -- no, it's not dead -- but its chipmunky way of darting across the bike path seems to have been unlucky this time....

Chipmunk

59 comments:

GeorgeH said...

s hurt that badly, why isn't it dead.
I can't understand leaving an animal to suffer.

AJD said...

I can't understand leaving an animal to suffer.

Ah, welcome to the A-House World, where even suffering can be the cause for festive pictures and banal captions!!

Ann Althouse said...

How do you know whether I put it out of its misery? What would you have done?

Matt Brown said...

I think I see Nessie in the second picture. She sure gets around.

GeorgeH said...

"And the poor chipmunk -- no, it's not dead"

You wrote in the present tense, not the past.

David53 said...

What would you have done?

Probably left it alone. Although rodents and squirrels are seldom infected with rabies, why take a chance?

I can picture myself trying to kill it with a rock or a stick only to look up and see an Althouse photographically capturing my "good deed."

Yeah, that would be great.

Maxine Weiss said...

"Help, I'm a Chipmunk....and I'm being used as a vehicle of exploitation and appropriation by Althouse."

amba said...

My sister, an infectious disease specialist, says that rodents do not carry rabies (a great relief to me when I realized the squirrel that nipped my along the the peanut I was offering it in Washington Square Park did not have to be captured and tested).

Depending on how bad its injury looked, I would have looked up and called a wildlife rescue organization.

Internet Ronin said...

What would I have done? Found a box, taken it to a 24-hour vet and found out if it could be helped. Based on prior experience, maybe an hour out my life. No big deal, but perhaps a big deal to the poor creature. But then I'm an animal lover and you don't appear to be.

Revenant said...

My sister, an infectious disease specialist, says that rodents do not carry rabies

Although the squirrels around the Grand Canyon DO carry bubonic plague.

All the more reason to never, ever leave the city. :)

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: You would have captured a wild animal and taken it to a vet? A common rodent? A common rodent with a crushed spine? What do you suppose the treatment for such an animal would have been?

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: You seriously think wildlife rescue outfits mobilize to help common rodents?

Think it through, people. Wild animals are constantly suffering and dying. Is this a problem that you think human beings should attempt to solve?

Now, if the question is whether to photograph such a thing, that's different. I believed it to be dead when I saw it, since it was not moving at all. It was not bleeding and there were no insects. I thought it was odd. It looked intact and quite lovely, with the striped fur, so I took the picture. Suddenly, it twitched, so I knew it was alive at that point, but it did not continue to move, and was then either dead or unconscious. Someone else was looking at it with me, and we noticed the depression in the spine and decided a bike must have run over it. This was a dead or doomed animal that was not suffering.

The final question is whether to preserve and post the photograph. I chose to do so, and it's up to you to think about why. I'm not going to explain the photo essay. I intend it to have meaning, and what would be "banal," to use ajd's word, would be to spell it out.

Internet Ronin said...

Yes, I probably would (I've done it before). In a closed box. I'm not a vet, so I tend avoid making a diagnosis. All I saw was the picture and your later question. I'm not saying my way of doing things is any better than yours (or someone else's). I've noticed before that we have very different view of animals. You just called it a common rodent, for example, something that would never occur to me.

Pete the Streak said...

That chipmunk is long past help. Let it go.

We live in 'the country', and wildlife surrounds us. We have chipmunks in our flower beds, squirrels in every tree, and see hawks, owls, deer, etc. on every drive. Death is just the completion of the circle of life.

My daughters,to this day, repeat my comment when they were little at the sight of a crushed squirrel on the road: "Slow squirrel! Darwin strikes again!".

It has zero to do with not loving animals or respecting life.

Fen said...

I once saw a squirrel mug a pigeon over some bread. Pretty funny too - the squirrel had reached its little arm around the pigeon and put it into a headlock.

Internet Ronin, what should I have done?

MadisonMan said...

I see no concern from anyone about the fish the heron -- or the fisherman -- are about to kill.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I think the Beatles were running through your mind:

Picture yourself on a boat on Lake Mendota.

Heron = He ran.

Blackbird singing in the dead of light.

Fish for fishing.

And poor Chippy Chipmunk. I suspect Rocky Raccoon...
Rocky had come equipped with a bike to roll o'er the back of his rival.

O bla di, o bla dah, life goes on.

AllenS said...

When you can get this close to any wild critter, and it doesn't flee, it's either almost dead, or dead.

Meade said...

"O bla di, o bla dah, life goes on"...

BRA

la la how commenters like AJD do go on...

Triangle Man said...

Many areas have a wildlife rescue organization. Accoring to Google, in the Madison area, injured wild animals can be taken to Four Lakes Wildlife Center (http://www.fourlakeswildlifecenter.org/). An organization like can humanely euthanize (i.e. not beat to death with a stick) a mortally wounded animal.

Oligonicella said...

Not everyone has DSL. Those things take a long time to flow across copper.

You have a goodly amount of daily traffic and each person visiting your site today initiated 36X~140K, or over 5Mg of download of your images, whether they cancelled the operation or not. That's a lot of traffic.

Perhaps you could thumbnail or low res them and let folks click on the ones they really want to see?

Just a thought.

Paul is a Hermit said...

The chipmunk is a picture of life ending. So what? It happens and is not off-limits, nor should it be.
Perhaps bait for the young fisherman or a cadaver for nearby squirrel doctors.

I do like your travels, wherever you go, you make it interesting. Your writing is very much so too!

Mark said...

Everyone seems to be focused on the Chipmunk (was it Alvin, Simon, or Theodore), but not a peep about the guy in shorts!

Hoosier Daddy said...

About 2 years ago I was on a group cycling ride with some of my buddies. We were moving pretty good, about 20mph, wheel to wheel to take advantage of the draft when a squirrel darts across the road, right into the front wheel of the lead rider.

Well from what I remember, the lead bike went down like it hit a wall, second rider plows into him, third piles on top of them. I was fourth and managed to avoid the pile up but completely lost control and crashed into the ditch.

Thankfully no broken bones but we all contributed enough skin to the aphsalt to do a decent skin graft. The squirrel managed to limp off too boot.

So some they win, some they lose. This one lost.

Internet Ronin said...

Fen - I don't care what you did or didn't do. I didn't suggest anyone should have done anything. I just answered a question: "What would you have done?" I wrote what I might have done given the limited amount of information available at the time I answered.

David53 said...

amba--My sister, an infectious disease specialist, says that rodents do not carry rabies

Your sister needs to consult with the CDC. In 2001 the CDC recorded the case of a rabies infected chipmunk. The same year they also diagnosed 47 groundhogs with rabies. While very rare, rodents are occasionally infected with rabies.

Mike said...

Putting it out of its misery would be a compastionate act. Taking it to the vet would not. 1) Everything dies. 2) It's a chipmunk. To think an elaborate intervention is in order shows a serious lack of perspective (IMHO).

Mike said...

Oligonicella suggested: "Perhaps you could thumbnail or low res them and let folks click on the ones they really want to see?"

A report from the field. It's become pretty much impossible to read your site over dial up. FWIW.

Triangle Man said...

Mike: Part of what vets do is to put animals out of their misery.

peter hoh said...

Once, while riding my bike, a young cat darted from under a car right into my path. Well, more like right under my rear wheel. By the time I realized what had happened, the cat was already running away, but I clearly felt the thump under my tire. I know it survived, as I saw it a week later.

Another time, while cycling along a country road, a cat on my side of the road, ahead of me and well on the shoulder, decided that I looked like a threat and ran across the road, right into the path of an oncoming car. Stupid cat.

Ann Althouse said...

On the subject of posting large pictures: It's the look I've chosen for my site, which is, for me, something of an art project. I hadn't heard any complaint in a while, and I've got to say that I really am assuming people don't use dial-up anymore. That doesn't mean I don't feel bad about causing a hassle for anyone who does. I do. But I'm not going to change my vision for the blog. You can use an RSS reader to avoid the problem.

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: I didn't have a box. I would have had to walk half a mile to my car, drive somewhere to get a box, then drive back, park and walk a half mile. And the time I got bitten by a bat and had to get rabies shots, it happened in the process of trying to get the bat into a box!

Re the heron and the fisherman: It's interesting that no one cared about the fish. Is it that, being underwater, they don't seem as real to us? Is it that they aren't cute and furry? If it had been a rat and not a prettily striped chipmunk, would those of you who wanted me to rescue the chipmunk have thought the same thing?

As for putting it out of its misery, it was peacefully dying of a severe injury. Would some sudden interference by me have been better? The only thing I could picture doing is taking a stick and moving it into the lake to drown. But it wasn't writhing or even panting. I chose noninterference. And photographic memorialization.

About the man in shorts. Good point! I was not bothered by this guy in shorts because the shorts had a clear sports function. He's standing in the water. Also I'm not seeing his legs. Frankly, I thought this guy looked really attractive, and I didn't even think about the fact that he was wearing shorts. So there! If you guys want to wear shorts, at least look as good as this guy... and maybe also stand in water up to your knees.

Mike said...

I think non-interference is best, but if compassion compelled someone to put it out of its misery, a heavy rock to the head finishes things immediately. Just sayin. Moving an animal with a crushed spine does not sound humane. And I say again, non-interference is best.

"Part of what vets do is to put animals out of their misery."

This is why health care costs are out of control! Kidding. Kind of.

Ann, I've read your reason for posting large pictures before, and of course you are 100% right. It's your site. Just thought I'd report that your site has become pretty unaccessable lately over dialup. I have dialup at home.

"I've got to say that I really am assuming people don't use dial-up anymore."

Such an elitist, Ann! Not all of your readers have your resources. In fact, I bet virtually none of your readers have your resources. But once Hillary is President, she'll fix that.

Ann Althouse said...

Mike: I thought of the rock-to-the-head move, but I simply couldn't do it, especially where people could see me. It would be really ugly. I have killed animals inside my house by beating them to death, however. Twice, I killed a bat with a tennis racket. This is not a good idea! It's terrible! I subsequently figured out better -- and worse -- ways to deal with the problem of a bat in the house. (The worse way was to capture him in a box and throw the box out the window. I had to get rabies shots.) The right answer is to get the house bat-proofed, of course, which has excluded all bats for years.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I was not bothered by this guy in shorts because the shorts had a clear sports function

Am I missing something or is there an issue with guys in shorts?

Mike said...

Ann: I don't think I'd have done it under the circumstances, either. It's emotionally difficult. And certainly not with people watching. But it is fast.

I've only had to remove a bat from inside the living space of my house once (it flew in an open door). Caught it in a fishing net and released it outside with very little effort. With an "n" of 1, however, I don't know if this is a good method or if I just got lucky.

Yes, Hoosier Daddy, Ann has an issue with guys in shorts.

MadisonMan said...

Men in shorts are a bugaboo in Althouseland. Even though, as I have pointed out, they are environmentally friendly because you can wash more pairs of shorts than pants in a front-loading washer. But no. Our hostess does not care to see the beauty that is the male leg.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Men in shorts are a bugaboo in Althouseland.

Wow. See I learn something new every day. And I was going to send in pictures of me and my crew at the Horribly Hilly Hundred when we were in the neighborhood in the next few weeks.

I imagine a bunch of guys in bike shorts would send the Professor over the edge then.

Mike said...

Well, apparently it's OK if you all look like that guy in the lake. Your call, I guess.

pepr said...

I have to laugh at all the PETA ppl hear trying to save a chipmunk...as I have been plotting the death of a chipmunk who is digging tunnels in my lawn.

The internet says ammonia in the tunnels or I may just use a mouse trap strategically placed.

pepr said...

oops HERE

Ann Althouse said...

Shorts are also okay if they're needed for a sport or if it's really hot. In Madison, guys start wearing shorts when it is in the 40s. Maybe if it's in the upper 80s, it's acceptable. And I'm not against the "beauty of the male leg." If the legs are good enough, I won't complain. That can be one of the exceptions.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Lest we forget: Althouse on men in shorts.

Oligonicella said...

David53 said...

"Your sister needs to consult with the CDC. In 2001 the CDC recorded the case of a rabies infected chipmunk. The same year they also diagnosed 47 groundhogs with rabies. While very rare, rodents are occasionally infected with rabies."

One rodent rabis case isn't anything to fret. Hedgehogs are not rodents and don't occur in the US other than as pets.

Ann. There is virtually no rural DSL and I was indicating overal net load as well as copper.

Oh well, danger of the commons.

ShadyCharacter said...

Ann wrote: "I thought of the rock-to-the-head move, but I simply couldn't do it, especially where people could see me."

I can relate. Two incidents in the past few weeks. First, one of the many squirrels that delight in taunting my dog from the top of the fence, I'm guessing in an attempt to impress a certain female squirrel, decided to up the antie and attempted to streak across the yard to the other fence, with my border collie in pursuit. It didn't fall. It decided to enter the yard right in front of a barking dog. Well, my dog caught it and, having caught it, had no idea what to do with it and just left it on the ground. Puncture wounds and a clearly broken back. Did I put it in a box and take it to the vet? No, that's silly. Instead I picked up a big rock and BAMN! 0.5 seconds later it was out of its misery... No one to witness, but when I mentioned it to people the next day (it was a somewhat trying thing to do and I was looking for a little reassurance that it was the right course of action), everyone acted like it was a horrific thing to have done...

Then last weekend, while trimming some tree branches with my cool chainsaw-on-a-stick ($99 at homedepot!) a half grown bird chick of some sort fell out of a neighboring nest landing, splat, right on the sidewalk. Faced again so immediately with the exact same scenario, I tried to get one of my friends to take care of it, but though they had no other suggestions (taking it to the vet being too silly even for these pansies to suggest), I found a rock and put it out of its misery. Again, with the horrified reactions, this time from witnesses who had nothing better to suggest.

In the future, I'd do the same, but I highly recommend not telling people about it, except maybe in a forum such as this...

Oligonicella said...

I'm not a man because I wear shorts? Tell you what, you're not a woman unless you're in a skirt or dress.

Mike said...

Shady: FWIW, I think you did the right thing.

Pepr: I predict that you will find that "the" chipmunk who is digging tunnels in your yard is really 20 chipmunks. They all look alike, you know.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Interesting about the aversion to shorts on men although now that I think on it, I guess I can see the Professor’s point. There are probably more than a few guys whose legs are not asthetically pleasing. I won’t brag but I’ve been cycling/triathalons for years so if Ann thinks the toothpicks on that guy fishing is ok, then I’d probably pass muster but who knows. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I will say that there is a time and place for shorts. Mall=ok, Church= eternal damnation or at least an extended sentence in purgatory.

pepr said...

no diversity in chipmunks? PETA may have to call the ACLU

and I better buy more ammonia

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

How can no one have mentioned the Sienfeld episode wher Geaorge tkes a squirel he hit with his car to the vet?

In my neck of the woods we don't work about squirels, or chipmunks for that matter, except as the occasional lunch (squirels, not chipmunks).

I also need to second the opinion that people only care about the fuzzy animals.

Hit a chipmunk; your a zero. Kill a snake; your a hero.

Oligonicella said...

David53 -- Holy crap, I must have had my eyes crossed. Was casually rereading this thread and "ground" leapt out at me. Could'a swore it was hedge. Apologies.

Not that most people would want to cuddle a groundhog though. They're about 2' long and some 9 lbs and not in the least friendly.

David53 said...

Could'a swore it was hedge. Apologies.

No problem.

Not that most people would want to cuddle a groundhog though.

No, but they are some of the hibernatingest animals out there. Discovery channel had a really cool special about them recently.Its heart beats only four or five times a minute, and it breathes only once every four minutes. I am such a geek.

amba said...

Amba: You seriously think wildlife rescue outfits mobilize to help common rodents?

A rat, no. A chipmunk, possibly yes. But if it in fact had a crushed spine, nobody could help it. "Depending on how bad its injury looked," I said.

amba said...

Wild animals are constantly suffering and dying. Is this a problem that you think human beings should attempt to solve?

It's something human beings sometimes rather arbitrarily choose to do, and it's part of what makes them human beings. A part you may not harbor or approve of, but some do, perhaps in the hope that their own tiny existence might matter and their suffering be noticed by some higher being(s), were there such a thing.

amba said...

A cat killed a squirrel in front of me once. She bit right through its spine at the back of the neck. It was a good death.

amba said...

Don't kill a snake around me unless it's a poisonous one. I love them!

Got lucky once, though. As a kid in Florida (where we lived for 6 months when I was 12), I used to like to catch chameleons by reaching into the limb crotches of palm trees, where the branch meets the trunk and is wound around with a sort of natural burlap bandage. One time I looked before I groped, and there was a moccasin coiled up in there. I ran and got our neighbor, a retired Georgia cattleman He teased it out with an open penknife till it struck at him, and cut its head off in midair. It was awesome!

amba said...

"Conservatives look for converts, liberals look for heretics."

Why then, I wonder, are the people who prefer not to try to help suffering small animals (when helpable) so hostile to those who do? Are they defensive (the way atheists are defenive) because they think the vast majority is droolingly sentimental about fuzzy little creatures and will think them heartless?

Such choices are mostly about the people who make them, not about the animals. So what's it to you guys if someone makes the other choice? I didn't see Internet Ronin getting hostile to anyone who chooses not to save a (less mortally injured) chipmunk or squirrel. He was just saying that he did. He wasn't claiming to be morally superior, just tenderhearted.

As for taking its picture, in the case of a mortally injured and dying animal, to take its picture is to take note of its existence and the end of its existence. Another human act.

Maxine Weiss said...

"and what would be "banal," to use ajd's word, would be to spell it out."--Althouse

Oh, I see:

Clarity, clarification = "banal"

Gotcha.

Internet Ronin said...

Thanks, amba, for understanding my comment, and Ann's as well for that matter. When I wrote my comment, the information provided was only the photo, not the details. Based on what Ann later wrote, I would probably have done about the same thing as she did (except I would undoubtedly have forgotten to bring my camera on the walk and therefore been unable to memorialize it).

As I said before, what I'd do may not be what someone else would do in the same circumstances. There was no implication that what I'd do was somehow superior. Once the condition of the animal was fully described, I agree it would have been cruel to attempt what I originally suggested.