The Unbearable Banishment: NYC wildlife

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NYC wildlife

Early one morning, I was walking past the Verizon store on 6th Avenue and 41st Street when a small brown dot in the bottom left corner of the window moved and caught my eye.

Upon closer examination, I could see that the tiny brown dot had fur and a tail.

It was a trapped little mouse! He somehow fell into a space whose walls were so high that he couldn’t extract himself. There was a Verizon service truck parked at the corner and the driver said he was going to free him as soon as the store opened. We can be benevolent towards mice but if it had been a trapped rat, the driver would have been waiting for the store to open so he could mash its head in with a tire iron.

* * *

Did you know that the sparrows in New York City are so tame that they’ll take food right out of your hand? Try doing this with a sparrow in your backyard and see how close you get.


OpenID daisyfae said...

didn't you get the memo? only adorable animals are worth saving... looks matter, no matter the species...

October 21, 2009 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: What if said adorable animal also happens to taste really good. Then we have a problem, don't we?

October 21, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
OpenID thegnukid said...

shouldn't you be feeding the mouse, who's trapped without food, versus the sparrow who's free to raid the dumpster behind the Chow Mein Palace?

October 21, 2009 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I know I'm boring saying this again and again...

but you make our city endlessly new for me. It's so neat to get a different perspective, always interesting, from someone who walks the very same streets as I do.

October 21, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger ~E said...

Rule #1 when commenting as a science geek: do not mention how many cute little animals you've dissected in your career.

that said...

Hey! I used to have a "pet" mouse that was the same color as that one. But it, uhm..."died" unexpectedly one day. And uhm, so did 17 of his uhm, "friends".

October 22, 2009 at 1:35 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Bastard said...

I had to install an expensive electrical magnetic impulse sounder (I don't have a clue either) in my barn to keep away the field mice in the winter.

It works... they now live in the shed.

October 22, 2009 at 1:54 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

as a kid I used to spend hours hiding behind a bush ready to tug on a piece of string attached to a twig which was holding up a cement sieve that had breadcrumbs strewn beneath it.... all because I wanted to catch a sparrow and keep one as a pet.

my parents eventually relented and bought me a budgie

October 22, 2009 at 5:12 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Gnu: I feel benevolent towards the bird but not the mouse. I wonder why?

Leah: That's a huge compliment coming from you and I'll take it gracefully. Thanks!

E: Fair warning to anyone who asks you to watch their pets while away on vacation.

Jimmy: Can I get one of those installed around my desk at work? Will it keep people away as well?

Nurse: How primitive! You were a young huntress. You still are, but one that goes after bigger game.

October 22, 2009 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Sid said...

Mice are frigging adorable. I once did a 3rd uni project on the habitat range of mice.

October 22, 2009 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous nuttycow said...

*shudder* mice.

London Underground is full of them. It always amazes me that they can happily walk along the tube track, scamper away as the tube comes and then carry on their way once it's passed through the station.

Still full of disease though, no matter how cute they look.

October 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous popomatic jeff said...

As long as they aren't in my home, I have no problem with mice. I had an apartment near the Hudson once that had a problem with mice - like we saw several a month. That wasn't very cute.

October 22, 2009 at 9:16 AM  
OpenID tomeoftheunknownblogger said...

That looks like a deer mouse. That Verizon driver will likely die from hanta virus for his trouble. Best to have just killed the vermin.

Is that a chipping sparrow? We have chipping sparrows here and they'll nearly eat out of your hand. I think they learn that in Mexico where they over winter.

October 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
OpenID hereinfranklin said...

We have deer in our neighborhood. They're beautiful to look at, but scary when they jump out in front of you while you're walking or driving by. Also, they eat the hell out of my trees.

October 22, 2009 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

I'm with you on the mouse/rat thing. I love all animals except rats. They really frighten me.

October 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

when I used to go to work at a different job, I would find myself alone at the Eastbound Tottenham Court Road tube station. Alone, but with a mouse. Always at the end of the platform. We grew accustomed to each other. We waited for the tube in each other's company. When the tube came, he would scurry off; I would board the train.

My Tottenham Court Road Mouse and London mice in general are soot covered species, like chimney sweeps. Your mouse looks clean and countryfied. x

October 22, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

We lived and grew up in 'the island', an island on the river Shannon , and mice in the house was just a fact of life. Freaked the shit out of the Ma, she was always setting traps, but it never bothered us kids!

Haven't been to NY since the 80's, you make me want to return.


October 22, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Well we didn't see any mice during our recent visit to NYC, but we saw plenty of rats in the subway stations. And lots of bold pigeons at the top of the Empire State Bldg. Poor mice - they look too much like rats for me to have any mercy for them.

October 23, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Mamasoo said...

Cute? The little mousie in the Verizon window.

Not so cute? The rat that ran across my foot on the F train platform last week.

The wildlife should stay in the suburbs where it belongs!

October 23, 2009 at 3:59 PM  

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