Friday, May 09, 2008

Japan is experiencing one of the perils of adopting a Westernized, resource-heavy lifestyle: a population explosion of trash-picking varmints. Specifically, in their case, crows, whose nests on power lines have become a cause of repeated power failures, including one that recently shut down the bullet trains. And the Times reports that

The crow explosion has created a moral quandary for Japan, a nation that prides itself on nonviolence and harmony with nature, because culling programs are the only truly effective method of population control.
Well, the pride in nonviolence may be a new development, since World War II. (Or were all those samurai swords meant as conversation pieces?) But back then, the Japanese homeland was never invaded, and now, the crows are on their turf. So, city governments are setting out baited traps, and power companies are sending out uniformed crow patrols. And the crows are fighting back:
In Kagoshima, they are even trying to outsmart the Crow Patrol. The birds have begun building dummy nests as decoys to draw patrol members away from their real nests.
Well, after all those years of humans putting up scarecrows, turnabout is fair play.

It could be worse. The crows are displaying intelligence somewhat superior to the average Nigerian 419 scammer, but they haven't figured out what the infrastructure they keep wrecking is actually good for. Yet. When they start pirating internet service... watch out.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been to Japan as a tourist, and seen some of the typical tourist destinations. The locals eat bento box lunches and toss the remains in trash cans, which are not lidded. The crows raid the trash cans for the leftover edible bits. As in urban ecosystems anywhere, species that live off human-generated debris thrive. It's just particularly picturesque in Japan-- I'll never forget seeing the crow perched on top of the skeleton of that building that was at ground zero in Hiroshima.

10:45 AM  

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