Well, that’s one of the reasons I quit vegetable gardening some years ago – it was no fun being at war with the wildlife. I’ll leave that up to the local Amish, instead, who don’t live surrounded by woods. Folks in town think they have it bad if they get one groundhog. I shot and trapped 25 one year, and they kept coming. And the deer always managed to get over or through our 8-foot-tall fences once we no longer had dogs.

But if you’re shooting cowbirds, I assume that’s to protect the nestlings of interior forest songbirds. We’ve never been able to convince ourselves that it was O.K. to take such an interventionist role, especially against a native species that has simply expanded its range in response to humans’ fragmenting of the eastern forest.