Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lending Nature a Hand

(The wonders of nature: Ducks finding those small areas of water that still remain in otherwise frozen lakes, rivers and ponds.)

This morning, when I awoke it was 16 degrees outside.

That is cold, even for me.

Still, there is the desire to make it to the park later today -- if for nothing else, then to throw some bread out for the birds.

I greatly marvel at, but also worry with regards to our park animals' survival during the coldest days of winter.

During the summer, the thousands of people in the parks, as well as the many food vendors virtually assure that squirrels, raccoons or birds never go hungry.

But, in the winter, it is a different story.

Presuming that the animals need extra layers of fat to help them survive in winter, food thus becomes more critical than in the summer.

For water fowl like ducks and geese, frozen-over ponds and lakes limit their food resources even more.

They are, however, amazingly adept at finding those few small pools of remaining waters.

It makes one truly feel awe at the resilience of nature.

Yesterday, while at the park with my dogs, I tossed some bread to some of the ducks still remaining in the unfrozen parts of the Reservoir. The desperation with the way the ducks dove for the food, made me feel regretful that I did not have more.

But, of course no one person can help feed all the ducks or other animals in the park anyway.

It is hoped that other people are moved by the plight of our park animals in winter. A particularly brutal winter might mean fewer squirrels, raccoons and birds to delight in over the spring and summer.

For both my dogs and me, that would be truly sad.

My dog, Tina especially lives for seeking out squirrels, raccoons and ducks to "herd."

Tina would never hurt another animal of course. But, yes, she likes to keep them on their wings and toes. -- Even if it means jumping into cold waters to do it! (I don't allow Tina to do this in winter.)

But, even the ducks are not afraid of Tina anymore.

These days the birds have more important things to worry over.

Like where their next meal is coming from......PCA


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