Published: July 2013
Last Song for Migrating Birds
From glue-covered sticks in Egypt hang two lives, and a question: How can we stop the slaughter of songbirds migrating across the Mediterranean?
By Jonathan Franzen
Photograph by David Guttenfelder
In a bird market in the Mediterranean tourist town of Marsa Matruh, Egypt, I was inspecting cages crowded with wild turtledoves and quail when one of the birdsellers saw the disapproval in my face and called out sarcastically, in Arabic: “You Americans feel bad about the birds, but you don’t feel bad about dropping bombs on someone’s homeland.”
I could have answered that it’s possible to feel bad about both birds and bombs, that two wrongs don’t make a right. But it seemed to me that the birdseller was saying something true about the problem of nature conservation in a world of human conflict, something not so easily refuted. He kissed his…
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