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Save on energy or save a magpie - which is better?

Yesterday, I was faced with a dilemma. I was working on my computer, and it was getting dark, but I had my curtains drawn back to use the last of the day light and save on energy by putting off turning on my 11W CFL table light. The window in my room faces out onto my balcony. Suddenly, a magpie I had been feeding for 2 years came to check out the latest loot. I had some water and food out. I always feel that the magpie is training me to give it food and go away - it always comes and croaks something when the food is not out, but always escapes when I come into view.

In order to let the magpie eat and drink, I would have to draw the curtains, not to scare it away, but then I would lose the sunlight and would have to turn on the table light. Faced with the dilemma of which is the greener thing to do, I decided to leave the curtains drawn back and not turn on the light, going by Spock's "the good of the many." What would you have done?

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      Feb 14 2011: 1. Good idea!

      2. Good point! I breathe in bacteria, anyways

      3. Of course, I can't decide whether it's wrong or right to let the magpie train me to give it food, I don't actually think one can make judgments like that save by framing them as decisions you can make based on your abstract model of the world. I don't believe in rules outside of human concepts, so anything I imagine the magpie to be thinking is really my own projection. (I usually imagine an internal debate: "Will I take the risk and go snatch the food?" The magpie must rationally assume I am a deadly risk, owing to my making motion and noise - so any notion of saving the magpie is something that I am content in imagining the magpie cannot be happy about).

      4 - I would also emphasize "working." Actually, I have a bad habit of looking down at my keyboard when copying and pasting - I think eliminating that would actually be somewhat "green" in this setup.

      5 - I went by the same number logic. I don't agree about the cost of this conversation - assuming it's going to be indexed by Google, somebody may once come across it and the tiny energy savings may double. And I think using a tiny bit less is important, if not for just training yourself to drop a habit.
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    Feb 11 2011: Krystian, I think we have in common the CFL lamp and the love for science fiction.
    Train the magpie to come for food in a park nearby and you both will do some exercise, and save energy.
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      Feb 14 2011: It came to the balcony first on its own, to check out some mess and bling I had lying around. I gave it food because I tend to anthropomorphise and emphatize. But I think the water is more important - it's a horror for me to imagine dying of thirst, and it's interesting for me to imagine the danger of that happening in wintertime, because I usually think cold=snow=water, and thinking in terms of things like "Arctic desert" is less intuitive for me, so this is a benefit of expanding your conceptual structure with non-intuitive insight. But the water freezes, anyway, and any heating system I could think of (almost none) required additional energy input. Well basically I imagined an electric heater (power?) and changing the chemical composition of the water to freeze less (which I decided would be bad for the magpie and would require changing it too much, away from what water actually is - even though I only had vague ideas of salt and anti-freeze ;))
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    Feb 23 2011: Feeding wildlife is a bad habit for both. At best, the animal learns to depend on and not fear humans. That will likely lead to harm for it. The things we often try to feed wildlife, are not a normal healthy part of their diet. Feeding wildlife also leads to undesired and unexpected results by attracting other animals that may not co-exist as well. Feeders often become disease vectors and have been traced to many wildlife problems. Magpies, like all corvids, are very smart birds and will "game" a situation for all it is worth in my experience.

    No question, throw the curtain open and let in that sunlight. You'll be saving the magpie too in a sense. The magpie will learn to fit in in the background and I dare say put on a more interesting show as it goes about its normal behavior and fares better in the long run. My two cents.
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      Feb 23 2011: This was in a busy urbanized area. I think it was the magpie's turf. You make a good point about feeding wildlife, but I sometimes think that it may be OK with animals who have adapted to human environments, like cockroaches or domesticated animals.
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        Feb 24 2011: Unfortunately, we do feed cockroaches unintentionally with bad results. I think better to keep the magpies lean and foraging on their own where they might help curb some of those urban adapted species. Magpies, like other corvid species, are attracted to human activities and take advantage of the waste we leave available. A classic example is the artificial water sources and landfills that have allowed ravens to follow us as we spread out across the SW desert area of California. Once they arrive, the find other species, such as young dispersing desert tortoises to be easy prey leading to population declines. Unintended results but predictable given our practices. Magpies can impact other bird species by robbing their nests, especially in urban environments where artificially high numbers may be supported.
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    Feb 19 2011: May depend on what you were doing on your computer. If you were finishing an assignment from your boss to keep your job to keep you off the public dole, it's "Get over it, Magpie." If you were doing crossword puzzles you could as easily do with pencil and paper, perhaps the magpie should win your mental tussle.