Nonhumans aren't a nuisance

  Dear HCN,

I want to thank HCN for its cover story (HCN, 10/28/02: Shawdow creatures) about nonhumans in Seattle and elsewhere. I work near the University of Washington, and I feel grateful every day that some nonhumans consent to be there at all, much less to thrive on our wastes, in our hedgerows and backyards. The "nuisance" in cities is the appalling noise, the endless miles of impervious surfaces, both horizontal and vertical, the stench of exhaust, the ubiquitous artificial light. To me, seeing a solemn gathering of crows on the edge of a Dumpster in the alley, or the wrangling between a gull and crows on a rooftop, or the impeccable timing of an English sparrow foraging for crumbs on the sidewalk, gives some respite from the relentlessness of purely human activity that makes the city not "the wild."

I welcome every critter who has the adaptability to cross the boundaries we so thoughtlessly erect. These include the unconscious assumption, apparently still held by many people, that non-humans in our cities are a "nuisance."

Linda T. Campbell

Seattle, Washington

P.S. Canada goose poop makes great fertilizer!

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