Today as we sat on the pier watching the beach below, one common activity was taking place – children chasing birds! Grandpa smiles and points towards a little boy and says “He could be me – I loved to chase birds.” Later the same day we looked out our vacation home to see our granddaughters chasing the wild life along the edge of the lake.
What are the ethics involved in this activity? For most of the day I worried for both the safety of birds and the children and I have resolved that it is an activity that should be dissuaded by (grand)parents - it is a dangerous. It is an activity that breeds disrespect for the animals that we share this environment with – our children are chasing birds from their territorial homes, feeding and breeding areas. The birds should they feel threatened enough will fight back because the chase is not fun for them.
There are two swans on the lake should a child chase them they would receive a very difference response one that could cause physical harm to the child.
The next time your (grand)children start to chase birds quietly get down to their level and redirect their attention away from the chase and towards a more mindful/respectful approach towards the birds.
- Ask them questions about the bird, what colours it is, are they alone or in a flock.
- Provide the child with the bird's name if you know it.
- Have them draw a picture of the bird.
- Wonder with the child as to the reason for the bird being in proximity to them.
- End with offering to play tag with the child as an alternative to chasing wild life.