Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

That is mine! It’s all mine! Don’t you dare touch it!”

July 30, 2008

And so the Rufous Hummingbird goes about its day, not calmly, not peacefully, but with great vigor and enthusiasm. Not for it the placid summer days. Not for it the quiet sunlit uplands. Always vigilant, belligerent, and bellicose, it protects its chosen feeder; giving no quarter and expecting none.


April 19, 2008

Spring arrived in our little corner of the universe this week. After several days of plodding through the paperwork of tax time here in the U.S. we were ready to get outside for awhile and the weather cooperated.

Our yard has become home to two species of birds which did not join us last year. Two Red wing Blackbirds and four Inca Doves have joined the menagerie, at least for now. “Now” is a key word when one spends anytime observing birds or nature. Nature, by nature — if you will forgive the pun — is not controllable by us. Those Red winged Blackbirds which are here today, may be gone tomorrow. Some or all of the little Incas may spend the summer or move on. Grasping at the hope they will stay will not keep them here any longer than they choose to be here. All that can possibly be done is enjoy them while they choose to stay.

And enjoying Red wing Blackbirds is not a difficult thing to do. Here is a brief video of a male calling. Blackbirds tend to flock and, in our experience anyway, enjoy large fields which we do not have around the house. Since we have never had any here, we lack confidence they will stay but are hopeful. And, for “now” we have them and their song.

What is more, on April 16th, the day after we paid our American dues, the first hummingbird of the year arrived. It is a Black chinned Hummingbird and currently has six feeders all to itself. Now there is a bird which is enjoying its “now.” Soon it will be sharing with many more hummingbirds and we’ll get back to our pseudo-science of trying to count them all. (You can read about methods of counting hummingbirds here, here and here.)

But, for now, it is “now” in our yard and it is good.

Under the Radar

March 23, 2008

Presidential administrations do much under the radar of the news media.  Bureaucratic regulations and decisions are not the stuff of headlines or a 20 minute evening news broadcast.  An article today in the Washington Post demonstrates the importance to wildlife of some of these bureaucratic decisions.  For instance, the Lake Sammamish kokanee was refused an “emergency” listing on the Endangered Species list by the current administration.  The last member of the species died in 2001.  It is now extinct.  Just last year a species of pygmy rabbits became extinct after the Department of Interior refused to protect critical habitat.

While Bald Eagles are doing well in most places, they are not in the Arizona Sonoran Desert.  It took a court order to make the Fish and Wildlife Service relist them as threatened — in spite of the agency’s own internal documents indicating that they should be relisted.

No matter what your politics, the article is important.  Farmers, ranchers, land-owners and some businesses resist environmental bureaucracies because they can slow — and, in some cases, stop — money-making developments.  Hunters, fishers, and birders are often on the other side, believing that nature should be left to herself as much as possible and protected from the ravages of mankind.  These are complicated issues, often resolved far from the public’s eyes.  Elections matter.

SOURCE: Center for Biological Diversity | Photo by William Radke, Graphic by The Washington Post – March 23, 2008

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