Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Trillions of snow fleas and a few good squirrels
Monday, February 22, 2010
To shoot a turkey---or Not
I am not a hunter. Many friends are. A few years ago I gave permission to a friend - a licensed hunter -to try for a turkey in my woods. She did her homework and stalked my woods pre-season to get a feel for the land and signs of turkey. On the morning of her first turkey hunt she arrived way before dawn,way before my coffee time, and went to her carefully crafted blind of branches, brush and dried golden rod stalks. She was succesful with her turkey call --and her aim. A few days later later I had my first wild turkey dinner with her family. In these waning days of February turkey are stalking my woods and visiting my bird feeder. It would be easy for me to take a turkey. Who would know? Who would hear the gunshot? (Yes, I own a 22 rifle, not the weapon of choice for a turkey hunt, but I am a good shot). It is not the fear of the limited resource of the MDNRE conservation officers that keeps me (and hopefully most) in check. Perhaps the process that regulates human behavior when it comes to the wildlife laws of our state is said best by conservationist Aldo Leopold in his classic, A Sand County Almanac: "A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience rather than a mob of unlookers."
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Bird Feeders Entice Four Legged Wildlife
If you feed birds, as I do, you are messing with the ways of nature. Birds that winter in Michigan do not need our handouts. They never do. But bird seed and birdwatching is a big industry! And I'll keep on feeding for the pleasure it brings--perhaps a selfish motive. Spillage attracts rabbits, voles (a mouse like creature) opposums, skunks and deer. Just as I was about to sit down to pound out a new blog update - on another topic - I caught a glimpse of motion outside the den window. One by one, five deer wandered up to the feeder and consumed every speck of cracked corn, sunflower and millet. They saw me through the window and ignored my gawking. I did not tell them that feeding deer is against the law. Are you listening deer? Are you trying to get me in hot water with the MDNRE? Deer: I did not feed you! You stole the bird seed. But that's OK with me, for you add a visual hoofed reminder that feeding any species has unintended consequences. And it's the conseqences that sometimes corrupt the ways of nature.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Oakland County Parks: They Got It Right! Again.
Kudos to Oakland County Parks with their impending expansion of Independence Oaks County Park with a new land acquisition: 186 acre Upper Bushman Property, a property classified by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory as a Priority 1 natural area for conservation. In the words of Parks Executive Officer Dan Stencil, "This aquisition will allow for the preservation of nearly 1,000 acres of contiguous habitat in the headwaters of the Clinton River." The property - which includes a 31 acre lake - is at the northeast corner of Independence Oaks and is bordered by Sashabaw Road on the east and Oakhill Road to the north and will make Independence Oaks, at 1,274 acres the largest park in their system. The properties connect tip to tip through pristine wetlands with the possibilty of a hiker's boardwalk connector trail creating dry foot passage for humans. More good news: down the road plans include exploration for a trail along the ITC Transmission Corridor as a north/south connector for our growing county wide trail network, Oak Routes. Stencil also said, "We are beyond pleased to add this jewel to our system and to be able to preserve it for generations to come." So would have land ethics conservationist Aldo Leopold, author of the Sand County Almanac, who penned, "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
Oakland County Parks got this thing right.
For more info on Oakland County Parks visit: DestinationOakland.com
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Supplemental Feeding: For Lions (A Valentine's Day Fleshy Treat)
Monday, February 8, 2010
DNR plus E makes DNRE
The abbreviation DNRE is going to take some getting used to, for as of January 17 - in an event that made little news - the Michigan Department of Natural Resources merged with the Department of Environmental Quaility making the often used abbreviation DNR obsolete. Rebbeca Humphries has been appointed the director of the new Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Gov. Granholm announced, "The Deparment of Natural Resources and Environment ushers in a bold, fresh approach to the way Michigan manages and protects our state's treasured environmental and natural resources." Let us hope so, for with shrinking dollars and asian carp at our Great Lake's door steps that task alone is enormous and needed.. A "bold fresh approach" alone wont be enough. Effort and creativity and money will be needed. And as a writer--I must remember that the E always follow the R when writing about the DNR and E.