Ann Novek( Luure)--With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors

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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