Heartbroken over demise of great horned owl family

by Admin
Heartbroken over demise of great horned owl family

I have followed Avani Kalra’s inexorably sad series on the demise, one by one, of the great horned owl family that bred over the winter in Lincoln Park, steps away from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

It is cold comfort that we will read no more of these articles, as the mother owl (following her mate and their young) has now perished, covered with blood (“Third member of great horned owl family found dead,” May 10). I know this is anthropocentric, but Kalra’s writing packs more of a punch after I watched these owls for several months: first the mother perched in front of the nest hole with the father keeping watch, day after day, from a nearby tree; then the owlet peeking out from the nest cavity beneath the mother; finally all three raptors perched on the same limb. (Once when a strong gust of wind blew through, I saw the parents actually squeeze their progeny from both sides to keep it secure.)

Going forward, perhaps the Tribune could look into some underlying questions: Can forensics determine whether these owls ingested second-generation anticoagulants, which are highly regulated and have been prohibited in California? How prevalent is the use of these poisons in the city, particularly in the vicinity of parks and other wildlife areas? Is the Department of Streets and Sanitation doing all it can to reduce the demand for anticoagulants by vigorously enforcing the sanitation code? Are the city, Cook County and the state of Illinois looking into other rat remedies such as the sterilization chemicals New York City is considering after the death of its famous eagle owl, who had poison in its system?

Is the Notebaert museum planning any programming, exhibits or other use of its prominent reputation and resources on what seems a uniquely appropriate issue?

While in November, I was thrilled to see these birds in Lincoln Park; now in May, I would be inclined to warn any owls to get as far away from Chicago as possible before they meet certain doom.

— Andrew S. Mine, Chicago

Endless money for endless war

Thanks to U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, whose points in his op-ed about the need for improved rail are so important (“We need to invest in a high-speed rail future,” May 13). My only question is: Why hasn’t this been done already?

If the answer is a lack of funding, then the question becomes: Why do we never have enough money to fund major domestic projects and programs that will benefit all Americans well into the future, but we always have enough money to fund foreign wars?

Since World War II ended, the U.S. has been pouring money down the black holes of foreign wars with little to show for it. The U.S. provided massive funding to support the government of South Vietnam for more than 10 years and even provided our own troops to do their fighting. The South Vietnamese government still collapsed, and 58,000 Americans tragically died for a lost cause.

We then spent tens of millions of dollars in the 1980s supporting the corrupt Contras in Nicaragua and billions more funding the Afghan mujahedeen in their worthy fight against the Soviet invasion and occupation. But the Soviet withdrawal led to a civil war in Afghanistan and a Taliban government that was worse than the Soviet-installed government. Hence, after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. had to send our troops to take out the Taliban and the militia’s al-Qaida supporters. But after 20 years of pouring billions into training and supporting a corrupt Afghan government and military, the U.S. withdrew, the government collapsed and the Taliban are back in power.

Yet again, the U.S. is pouring more than a hundred billion dollars into supporting wars in Ukraine and Gaza. The Washington establishment has provided little justification for all this military spending other than the generalities of “providing global leadership” or “standing up to tyranny,” which are foreign policy euphemisms that mean playing an endless unwinnable game of global “Whac-A-Mole.”

Spending on foreign wars increases our massive debt and takes away from domestic funding needed for creating high-speed rail, fixing collapsing bridges and roads, fixing our dysfunctional U.S. Postal Service, and properly funding schools, Social Security, Medicare, the National Endowment for the Arts and Veterans Affairs.

Quigley has been a big cheerleader for these wars, and the Democrats seem to be the new party of war. In his next op-ed, he needs to explain why taxpayers should continue supporting endless war. Otherwise, he may eventually be explaining why Democrats lost the 2024 election.

— Franz Burnier, Wheaton

Protesters at United Center

Protesters have a right to protest. And that right to protest includes the right to protest, peacefully, to the people they want to protest to.

Mayor Brandon Johnson wants to shuffle them off into a corner where no one will see them during the Democratic National Convention. That won’t work, and chaos will reign.

Here is a solution: limited protests at the Untied Center, in corrals in the parking lots. Those parking lots won’t be used that much as most delegates will be arriving in buses, taxis and limousines. Have multiple issue protests all around the United Center, separated so rival protests aren’t next to each other. They can have mass protests 4 miles away, but only maybe 500 people at the United Center. Allow signs only. Provide portable toilets on their dime. And they must arrive by and leave by buses to the mass protest area 4 miles away, on their own dime. And have them pay insurance for damages.

Have protesters there for only six hours. And no masks.

— E.L. Foertsch, Chicago

Virtual parts of the DNC

Regarding the editorial “Democrats are nervous about the city and its mayor. Will the DNC really be ‘live from Chicago’?” (May 12): Parts of the Democratic National Convention should be online. Zoom and other streaming services are a fact of life. People feel comfortable using them. By doing so, people take part in the convention who would have been excluded at earlier conventions, enlarging the tent.

Granted, that might mean fewer parties and less alcohol, but everyone has to sacrifice a little bit.

— Len Robertson, St. Charles

We need the Postal Service

I am writing in concerned reaction to the op-ed (“It’s not too late to revive the US Postal Service”)
in the May 5 Tribune about the United States Postal Service, written by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Robert Weissman of the group Public Citizen. I also am reacting to the USPS’ outrageous planned increase for a first-class stamp to $0.73 in July. In addition, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy plans to slow deliveries. Already, there is no convenient post office close to my home; there is virtually never any parking at the one I go to, and many post office trucks are parked all around the area.

Certainly, we don’t want this postmaster general to put the Postal Service into a sort of limbo until it is gone altogether. Such incredible mismanagement! The postal workers’ jobs are at risk.

We need a national Postal Service. As the op-ed points out, many people rely on the service. I may be a dinosaur because I like receiving the printed version of the Tribune, and I like receiving greeting cards and Christmas cards. I like looking for cards for family and friends, and no email or text can take their place. The greeting card companies such as Hallmark, American Greetings, Papyrus and other smaller companies produce beautiful and creative cards. Will these companies soon be at risk?

And I must add that I find it very convenient to vote by mail.

Congress and President Joe Biden must address this Postal Service crisis right away. Surely, our votes are essential to them.

— Denise Wells-Palfy, Chicago

Comfort of religious faith

“Hospital chaplains finding ways to help ‘nones’” (May 13) is an interesting article on how the job of the hospital chaplain has changed.

The article points out a drop in those with a religious affiliation. There can be many reasons for this. However, there seems to be a correlation in the timing of the drop-off and the increase in the suicide rate, mental instability, mass shootings and a lack of respect for others. Maybe just a coincidence and maybe not.

A church, synagogue and mosque can give some comfort and hope.

— Don Mueggenborg, Lemont

Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email letters@chicagotribune.com.

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