Letters to the Editor

Vol. 8, No. 14
April 6-12, 2000
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Vultures Get a Bad Rap

Dear Bay Weekly:

I was glad to read in M. Thomas Pugh’s article “The Bird Man of Route 665” [March 16-22] that somebody is paying attention. I was concerned about vandalization of the vulture roost on Rt. 665. Like bats, vultures still have a bad image despite the beneficial things they do.

Most of the vultures in that roost are turkey, not black, vultures. Black vultures are southerners who’ve migrated up and now nest with turkey vultures, which are a little larger.

With either bird, it’s a good idea not to come too close unless they’re comfortable with you. When frightened, they’ll throw up on the source of the fright, and they do eat carrion. Mr. Williams is safer, since he feeds them fresh meat.

—Lloyd Tidings, Edgewater

Editor’s note: Tidings is an expert on snakes, spiders and other less popular creatures.

Animal Talk

Dear Bay Weekly:

The suggestion by Captain Al Freedman that Bill Burton teach his cat to answer the phone [Letters, March 23-29] is well founded. It is a well-established fact that Captain Freedman is an authority on animal communication.

Captain Al resides at the Maryland Yacht Club, where an on-going problem existed with ducks being strangled by fishing lines left on the docks by careless fishermen. One day, I had to rescue a duckling literally hanging by its neck in monofilament. Since Al was a club officer at the time, I suggested he take the problem up with the club board. His solution was quick and effective: “Tell the damn ducks to be more careful.”

—Irv M. Furman, Annapolis

Maryland Crabbers: An Endangered Species

Dear Bay Weekly:

We are so grateful for your wonderful coverage of our new bumper sticker “Pick Maryland Crabs” [“Down in the House: Locals Still Pick Maryland Crab” March 9-15].

As a historical group, the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society is dedicated to the preservation of traditions of the West River area, and our waterman’s museum, the Captain Salem Avery House Museum, embodies our relationship to the Bay. We are particularly concerned with the continuing loss of the waterman’s way of life. To that end, we created the bumper sticker in hopes that the play on words would bring increased attention to this endangered industry, which is our living history.

As Del. Dick D’Amato has noted, the market share for true Maryland crabs has dwindled by more than half in the last seven years, from 57 percent in 1993 to 27 percent in 1999. Crab temperament, processing woes and weather aside, we cannot overlook the fact that imported crabs cost less than half the local price per pound. As a consequence, local watermen were left with $5 million worth of unsellable crabs last fall, according to Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Waterman’s Association.

We believe in the importance of our history and value the traditions of the region. We hope your readers do, as well. The Bay. Crabs. Marylanders know how to pick them.

—Susan Savage, Co-President,
Shady Side Rural Heritage Society

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly