November 8, 2012

There are no more young naturalists, "because it's no longer allowed, no longer legal, to be a collector."

Said Sir David Attenborough.
"I openly admit that I collected birds' eggs. And I knew, I bet like you did, when the right moment was when you could take one, and the bird would lay another, so you didn't damage the population, and I learnt a lot.

"Now, I think it's in the ledger of law, if you wanted to be pedantic, if you were to pick up a feather and put it in your pocket it would probably not be legal. And not to be allowed to collect fossils..."

33 comments:

edutcher said...

You can't even pet the elk or feed Goldfish to the prairie dogs.

chickelit said...

This general theme of Althouse's post notion reminds me of the case of David Hahn, who as a teen tried collecting samples of every chemical element. Hahn in turn reminds me of Oliver Sacks, who also collected elements as a child and wrote about that in his delighful memoir "Uncle Tungsten" (that and growing up in wartime Britain). Hahn, the so-called "radioactive Boy Scout" got reckless and endangered others in his quest. But still, I have to admire his curiousity.

Carol said...

I admit I always thought it weird to kill a lot of butterflies and put their dead bodies in little glass cases. I also thought it weird to dissect animals, the way any medical student must do. So to each his own.

But insects have rights now, I guess.

Matthew Sablan said...

The only big thing I collected were Magic cards.

rhhardin said...

I collected cartridge casings.

It was about the only thing to do on hikes.

Mitchell the Bat said...

You don't see too many collectors of shrunken heads these days, either.

chickelit said...

You don't see too many collectors of shrunken heads these days, either.

There's one permanently on display at the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland.

Dante said...

Now, I think it's in the ledger of law, if you wanted to be pedantic, if you were to pick up a feather and put it in your pocket it would probably not be legal

We need more laws like this. That way, when the president gets in trouble in he can blame it on just about anyone convenient, and throw them in jail.

veni vidi vici said...

But your kids can listen to cloying educational software and look at pictures on the iPad.

Bring on the fucking Matrix already. Or send us all, Travolta-style, into the bubble.

MadisonMan said...

We're all committing three felonies a day just by driving across town.

Franklin said...

What Attenborough says is very true.

Our whole society is a do what I say not what I do nightmare.

It can't go on forever like this, and it won't.

Bryan C said...

Everything must be left exactly where it is and exactly how it is. Leave those dead animals right where they are. Fire hazard? What fire hazard? Don't touch anything that's mine, and it's all mine.

Today's environmentalists are basically hoarders.

Phil Beck said...

I was in Alaska with my family this summer. I found an eagle feather on the ground. Our guide told me that if I were caught with it I could be fined $10,000. (It is on my dresser at home.)

Phil Beck said...

I was in Alaska with my family this summer. I found an eagle feather on the ground. Our guide told me that if I were caught with it I could be fined $10,000. (It is on my dresser at home.)

Rusty said...

Phil Beck said...
I was in Alaska with my family this summer. I found an eagle feather on the ground. Our guide told me that if I were caught with it I could be fined $10,000. (It is on my dresser at home.)

I still have some fly tying materials I gathered as a boy that until recently were illegal.
Some of the most beautiful salmon flies are tied in Britain where they can use feathers that are illegal here.
I can't even collect molted feathers from captive birds.
Don't get me started on my arrowhead collection.

Hagar said...

Remember the lady who got prosecuted and fined for picking up an eagle feather from the walk past the eagle cage at the local zoo?

Hagar said...

I think she was an artist and got caught for including the feather with a collage or sculpture of an American Indian and exhibiting it.

Freeman Hunt said...

But your kids can listen to cloying educational software and look at pictures on the iPad.

Bring on the fucking Matrix already. Or send us all, Travolta-style, into the bubble.


Heh. Too true.

He is just talking about the United Kingdom, right? We haven't collected any birds' eggs, but if you can't collect feathers and fossils... well, just excuse me please while I dump a bunch of stuff outside... just dirt, nothing to see here, move along..

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

I should clarify that any feathers we have at our house DO NOT belong to bald eagles. (Robins and cardinals and sparrows and blue jays, etc.)

BarryD said...

There are naturists, though.

Firehand said...

Another part of the "You must leave it to the experts" mindset.

What, let kids study and collect stuff ON THEIR OWN?

Paco Wové said...

Freeman: you might want to look into the details of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It covers a lot more than Bald Eagles.

PETER V. BELLA said...

More insanity from the whacko environmentalists. Environmentalism is a mental disease.

Michael said...

John Audubon found it was easier to draw dead birds and became a very good wing shot. Probably owned a cat.

Michael said...

The 1918 act was to stop the harvesting of feathers for women's hats. Market hunters nearly wiped out spoonbills, flamingos and other species with desirable feathers.

Michael said...

John Audubon found it was easier to draw dead birds and became a very good wing shot. Probably owned a cat.

Alcuria said...

It is somewhat sad what has happened. Laws enacted to address real problems in regards to, among other things illegal trade of migratory birds, have also had the effect of isolating many people from nature.

I don’t think it’s necessary to be a collector to enjoy nature or be a naturalist, although it is challenging to start a new collection of eggs, feathers and birds even for educational institutions. A nearby organization has a wonderful collection of bird eggs that is grandfathered in under current law – they would have a hard time establishing a new collection in 2012.

When I do bird banding, I always encourage people to come out and see how we catch birds in mist nets, net pick the birds, band and collect data, etc. There’s a big difference between seeing a bird in a book versus showing someone how to net pick an American Kestrel from a mist net (going in after an Eastern Meadowlark ) or seeing an Eastern Screech Owl on TV versus removing one from nestbox (with a freshly taken Cedar Waxwing cached in the box by the owl).

The point is that as long as folks are mindful of the habitat and behavior of wildlife, there is much that can be learned out in the field. Technology has isolated us to some extent from nature, and will be hard pressed to give us the same sights, smells and noises that can only be experienced outdoors.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I always thought collecting dead things was strange. Of course, in the name of science and biology class, someone has to do it.

I guess baseball cards and railroad pole insulators were things I chose to collect, and not nearly as controversial.

leslyn said...

This reminds me of the Doc Martin episode where the illegal bird egg collector came down with a strange disease but couldn't admit anything about it because he didn't want the OTHER illegal bird egg collector to find the nest. Then Doc fell over a cliff while investigating. Great show.

leslyn said...

Soon we will not be allowed to collect obelisks and dead Egyptians.

secularabsolutist said...

I have long said the end game of environmentalism was the total annihilation of nature. This because strict laws will keep nature separate from humans and once humans no longer know nature they will no longer care.

Once the caring is done, nature is meaningless. Thank you for noticing.

Unknown said...

@ leslyn. Doc Martin was lowered over the cliff using a winch cable. The egg gatherer was the one who fell. Doc went down to check him out.