Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why don't we?

Leaving a restaurant one early evening in July, I spotted this guy next to the road eating his dinner. This was not in a rural area and I was surprised to see him.

I identified him as a Woodchuck also known as a Groundhog. He was large and seemed nonplussed by me stopping and photographing him.

As I always do, I researched groundhogs and learned, in some areas, they are considered pests and poisoned, hunted and trapped. Why are they considered pests? Because of the enormous underground dens they create, which, if done on farmland, damages the land. But the truth is, they are killed off because they are doing what they do. How would a groundhog know he's on farmland? So they hunt them, trap them and poison them. Kill them off.

It never fails, in any of my readings about other species that inhabit the planet, that I come across most, if not all of them, described as pests or a nuisance or disposable is some area of the world and being killed. Maybe the human race is the pest. Maybe we need to look at ourselves. We've overrun the planet, it is past carrying capacity for sustainability and, we've overrun every other life form that tries to survive, despite us, on this Earth. But go ahead, bury your head in you smart phone, your iPad, your tablet, your Game Boy . . . The list is endless. Lots to bury your head in.

I'll never forget the cartoon I saw many years ago that showed two deer running into the woods with a hunter behind them looking through the sight of his rifle. One of the deer was looking at the other and the caption read, "Why don't they thin their own damn herd?" Yes, indeed. Why don't we?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A most exuberant bird

Out of all the birds that visit my feeders none exhibit the exuberance of the American Goldfinch.

Male American Goldfinch

These small, pretty birds amaze me with the joy they seem to display as they fly through the air, wings held close to their sides, undulating up and down, while they sing a cheerful song like little darts of pure happiness.

Female American Goldfinch

Everyday I walk out my door and hear and see these little golden darts, they make me smile and remind me there are others who enjoy life as I do.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Steller's Jay & Blue Jay

Being familiar with the Blue Jay, I was lucky to experience a Steller's Jay on a visit out west. Closely related species, the Stellar's Jay live in the Western United States preferring mountains and pines while the Blue Jay inhabits the East and North.

They are both bold and inquisitive. I found the Steller's Jay outwardly curious. He would stay at a distance while keeping an eye on me, both of us showing mutual interest.

The Blue Jay, while equally curious, is low-key about it almost exhibiting a slyness like, "I'm watching you but don't want you to know."

The Steller's Jay is easy to photograph while the Blue Jay is difficult as they flee when they see the slightest movement.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a photographic comparison between the Steller's Jay and the Blue Jay.

The Steller's Jay from the right . . .

 . . . and the Blue Jay from the right.

The Steller's Jay from the left . . .

. . . and the Blue Jay from the left.

The Stellar's Jay from the front . . .

. . . and the Blue Jay from the front.

When done photographing the Blue Jay vanished (I'm certain I must have moved) . . .

. . .while the the Steller's Jay was "outta here!"