SEEKING ONE VERY SMALL MIRACLE

THE NORTHERN BOBWHITE – NEW ENGLAND’S LAST QUAIL

The quail population in New England has dropped by 85% during the past 20 years. Once a common bird, it is rapidly vanishing from hunting and now, as the places it called home are plowed under for one reason or another.

The reasons we give for destroying natural habitat are always in the public’s best interest. Who doesn’t want a wider road or another mini-mall or better yet, a sprawling solar farm? That there are plenty of already destroyed areas that could easily and safely be reused never seems to matter to anyone because buying existing land is more expensive than tearing up fresh land. Will they ever learn? I doubt it. I’m not sure why they can’t see that the way the do things is killing our world, but they have some kind of mental shudders that close out reality.

Anyway, when I really zeroed in on this birds, I could actually see the feathered crown and the colors are more “quail-like” than I could see before heavily cropping the pictures.

Finding a flock of quail — these are called Northern Bobwhites — is a find as they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

New England is one of the last places for many birds to survive, the only place in the U.S. where the amount of “treed” land exceeds paved ones. But that’s changing. Ironically, not because of lack of knowledge but a kind of casual governmental stupidity. Because spending a bit more money to do something right is always on the back burner and, after all, it’s just this ONE woods we are flattening.

Just this one, then just that one, then just one more until finally, none are left. It is demoralizing.

I feed the birds and take their pictures and hope someone, somewhere, will stop, catch his or her breath and think: “Maybe we should NOT cut down this woods. Maybe we can put this solar farm on that dead mall over there or at the school no one uses anymore.” It would take a very small miracle, but it would be a miracle nonetheless.



Categories: #Birds, #BlackstoneRiver, #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, Quail

Tags: , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I’m with you, Marilyn! The solar farms are taking over fields and forests up here… The pristine landscape is endangered. Meanwhile, there are plenty of building that would be perfect for the soar arrays.

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  2. What a sad post this is, Marilyn. We are fortunate to have a very large bird sanctuary near where we live. It belongs to a private trust so government can’t get its mitts on it.

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    • We have sanctuaries all over the state, but birds don’t just live in sanctuaries. Some of them need to spread out. There’s only so much natural habitat you can remove before some creatures can’t live in what remains. Some need more roaming room, others need specific trees for nesting and nourishment, And the reasons we do all this destruction are so stupid and all boil down to saving a few dollars. It just cheaper to plow down land the state owns than pay someone to use already destroyed land — and there is so MUCH already destroyed land readily available.

      I just keep hoping some of these mental midgets will notice that there IS a better way and try using it. Not that I really believe it.

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      • I hope so, Marilyn. What you say is true and it is the same here with our wild animals. For many species like lions, there are to few left for them to be viable as a species ( you need at least 50,000 and there are only 25,000). Despite the game reserves and national parks, there just isn’t enough of there natural habitat left to make them viable.

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        • That’s the problem with birds too. Garden birds are people-friendly and can be content to live in your backyard if you have a few trees and you feed them. We have a lot of trees, so we have a pretty big variety of birds for a private residence. But the big birds — the big hawks and eagles — need more room and more important, they need more prey. As the woods keep diminishing, the ground animals the bigger predators need are fewer and fewer. We used to have rabbits and lots of chipmunks, woodchucks, moles, voles, rats (not loveable, but great eating for predators) … but then the bobcats (wildcats) came and bred here. They ate EVERYTHING and we haven’t see a rabbit since.

          We used to see some Bald Eagles and Red-shouldered Hawks, but they’ve been disappearing. After they cleaned out all the rabbits, chipmunks, and other small creatures, the bobcats also went away and never came back. Coyotes — our little American wolves — have adapted pretty well to civilization. Foxes not so much.

          Bears are having a hard time. As their northern spaces get lost to hotels and resorts, they move south. Most people are not comfortable with half a ton (or more) of wild bear in their backyard. Even a small bear is a big animal and don’t always make the best neighbors.

          I have watched the wild things vanishing one creature at a time. While I don’t like seeing “my birds” and other small creatures eaten, but I also understand there’s a cycle of life and every animal needs food. Lawns and maintaining very tidy gardens is another killer. One lawn at a time, the small animals are destroyed.

          It’s an endless, sad story. I’m so afraid that there won’t be any large predators — or for that matter any large animals of ANY kind — left. I don’t hold out much hope for rhinos or elephants other than those fostered in zoos. It will be a sad world for our great grandchildren.

          I’m sorry about the lions. They were always the symbol of Africa, the dominant predator. That they have been so much reduced is hard to hear.

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