The Department of Defense Just Spent Hundreds Of Thousands Of Your Tax Dollars To Bird-Watch.

California Gnatcatcher

Source: Flickr-Rebecca Wolf

All to protect the glorious and majestic…Gnatcatcher?

Nesting in the vibrant green sage scrub of the California coastline is a small gray bird called the California Gnatcatcher. This bird is mostly known for being victimized by Cowbirds, which like to lay their eggs in the Gnatcatcher’s nest and push out the original eggs so that the nest owner will unknowingly raise the Cowbird’s chicks while its own babies become omelets.  As you can see, it is not a particularly pretty or abnormally intelligent bird, but it is still considered rare.

In 1993 this bird was put on the “threatened species list,” which not only protected the little avian gem but also protected its habitat from greedy land developers looking to make big money off of the coastal property. The fact that our government was actually able to get around the constant red tape and political gridlock to do something right for our environment should make you want to sing “I’m Proud To Be An American” while you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That is until you see the amount of money they spent just paying government workers to sit around and literally stare at the bird nests.

This year, the Department of Defense, which is apparently more afraid of losing track of these baby birds than containing ISIS, approved a grant of $283,500 to monitor the day-to-day happenings in these bird nests. Spoiler alert — they found eggs and feathers but still no terrorists.