I was reading this piece in the Grauniad today...
as I wanted to get a view on plants for birds...and I came across this comment from someone calling themselves TuityFruity.
I know, I know... one shouldn't read the comment section in online newspapers' pieces.
I read TuityFruity's comment and sighed.
TuityFruity's comment has now received a dozen "likes" or "markups"... the most well-received comment to the column I think - not that surprising really as most British wildlife lovers (and Guardian readers also) will think that the comment seems to make the most sense, mentioning "balance" etc, as it did.
TuityFruity's comment is BS though of course - and I started penning a response.
Then I remembered that I'd not be falling into the trap of commenting on online forums (fora?) this year as it really doesn't do me any good.
But I wrote my response anyway... and I reproduce it below. (I didn't add it to the comment section however).
Happy new year again, grapple fans.
"Redressing the balance"?
A facile cliché often used by those who use other clichés like *shudder* "the natural order" (of things).
There is no order, no balance either.
Natural order is disorder. Some people might call this entropy.
Life and all the zoological and botanical (and mycological!) relationships within, is constantly fluid in nature. Dynamic. Moving... and in competition even.
The whole point of life is to perpetuate that life... and NOT to keep any balance. That's a particularly human concept.
There may be an *illusion* of order and balance - but this is just that - an illusion based on a momentary observation of a fluid system in chronic dynamic competition with all others.
Field voles haven’t evolved (or worse still, weren’t “designed") to hide well from barn owls so that the owls and voles can live in a balanced (or worse still “harmonious”) stasis. Likewise, “balance” isn’t the highest priority of owls.
This notion of balance and stasis is at best, nonsense.
Tuityfruity seems to exhibit all the hallmarks of someone only considering macro biology in her (I assume with an online moniker of TuityFruity, it’s a her) warped notion of balance, too.
What about the myriad of micro biology that she doesn’t see and therefore won’t often or ever consider? The beetles or nematodes or annelids or arachnids or fungi or bacteria or anything else that doesn’t make an obvious noise outside TuityFruity's window. Does bringing in large numbers of (hungry) birds to a small area - and covering the ground beneath the feeders with a load of highly alkali bird poo or food-drop or probing (for other things) beaks “redress the balance” for this unseen life. Of course not.
TuityFruity not only has tunnel vision. It’s filtered too. And myopic.
Even if there was "balance" (there just isn't), to suggest that because people have put decking up next door, your feeder full of fatty sunflower hearts which bring 30 greenfinches to 3 square foot of tree, for months on end, with all their associated diseases and predator-attracting results, redresses this errr… “balance” is simply, demonstrably, unequivocally, unambiguously incorrect.
Conservation is good of course. But it only conserves (or preserves really) the present (perhaps short lived) state of affairs. It does NOT keep any permanency of *shudder* "balance" or "order".
After reading my diatribe above, some may think I'm suggesting that you shouldn't feed birds as it's a bad thing to do and doesn’t help the birds.
I'm not saying that at all.
Feed the birds by all means... help the odd bird in times of need – and also get a load of personal pleasure from it – but…. be honest enough to admit that the primary reason for you feeding the birds is YOUR OWN pleasure – and not the birds’ wellbeing or any redressing of any perceived “balance”. (Sigh).
If you REALLY want to help the birds, plant more trees and bushes all over the place ... outside your tiny suburban garden. Oh - and try to live a somewhat less consumer led life whilst using thoughtless, vapid phrases like "balance" and “natural order” far, FAR less often.
Recommended further reading for TuityFruity and anyone else who believes in “natural order” and “balance” and “stasis”:
"Are British garden wildlife lovers harming wildlife?" (A blog post by me in November 2018).
The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (yes yes, I know we all think Ridley is a bit of a plonker these days… just read his early stuff… like Dawkins… and forget the rest).