Let me share a story. You can glean whatever you want from it, or nothing at all.

My father is a farmer. Unlike most farm kids, I very rarely helped out on the farm, but a few months ago, I did come home from college for a few days to drive the tractor a bit. I was to till up the ground so that the crop could be planted there later.

There's a species of bird (I can't remember the name, perhaps someone can help me out) that builds its nest on open ground such as in the middle of fields. What makes this bird unique is that when something it perceives as a predator approaches its nest, it doesn't attempt to defend the nest like many birds, it runs away from the nest, attempting to draw as much attention to itself as possible, and trying to act as a decoy to lure the enemy away from the nest. In the wild, most predators will chase the mother bird instead of attacking the camoflauged nest, and the mother will return to the nest after the predator tires (these are very, very engergetic little birds).

A number of such birds had made nests in the field. And, logically, these birds see 20-ton John Deere tractors as predators, but their diversionary tactics don't generally work very well on a tractor driver who's only concerned with getting the field plowed.

As I drove up and down the field, the mother birds would run around in frenzy whenever I was nearby, and then go back and squat in their nests after I had passed. The first two nests, I plowed into oblivion without even noticing them. The mother birds from those two nests, as well as others trying to distract me from other nests, tended to blunder in the blades of the plow and meet their doom also (this was one of those speed demon 14MPH tractors).

I felt bad about smashing those nests and eggs under tons of razor-sharp steel blades. The mothers who had not yet despondently thurst themselves in front of the tractor would return to the spots where their children had been sleeping peacefully, only to find freshly-plowed ground where their nest had been.

I took note of where the remaining birds in the fields were sitting, assured that that's where their nests were located. I mentally marked the next such spot I would come to, and when I approached it (mother bird gesturing insultingly at me), I brought the tractor to stop, hopped out, harvested the eggs from the nest, and carried them over to the edge of the field, and left them beside a pool of water where a number of the mother birds seemed to gather to drink. I knew it was futile, though: the mother birds would never return to the eggs once they had been touched by humans. The eggs would never hatch. They would die.

I knew I had wasted my time saving that nest, but just the same, I took great care to not let that nest's mother bird suicide herself under the tractor, which was quite a challenge. But what could I do about the rest of the nests in the field? I plowed every single one of them into the fucking ground. Gee, I'm sorry, but did you have a BETTER idea?

I probably killed about 50 birds and potential-birds that day, over the course of plowing the field.

What were we growing in that field?


Enjoy your Veggieburger!