Tell Minnesota Vikings: Don’t Kill Birds

 [Sponsored by the National Audubon Society]‏

The Minnesota Vikings should focus on swatting down passes — NOT BIRDS!

Their new stadium could kill thousands of migratory birds unless the stadium’s builders take immediate action to incorporate bird safe measures.

At issue is the type of glass being used in the largely-glass exterior of the massive new stadium. Current plans call for a type of glass that birds are less likely to see, which will invite deadly collisions.

Over 50,000 people have joined with Audubon to pressure the Vikings to do the right thing. Join them and urge the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) to use safer glass.

The cost of using bird friendly glass is less than one tenth of one percent of the overall cost of the new billion dollar stadium. The site of the stadium is less than a mile from the Mississippi River, along which tens of millions of birds fly between their breeding and wintering grounds every year.

Unless the Vikings and the MSFA reverse course, the new stadium could become a serious threat to America’s birds.

Please act today to urge the stadium’s builders to make the right choice — use safer glass!

Change Glass, Save Birds

The Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium could kill thousands of migratory birds unless the stadium’s builders take immediate action to incorporate bird safe measures.

Please act today to urge the stadium’s builders to make the right choice—use safer glass! Send an email to the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority urging them to take a leadership position in building a stadium that is great for both football and birds. You can send the sample letter below, or edit the letter with your own words for even greater impact.

NOTE: Your name and address will automatically be added to the bottom of the letter.

Help us reach our new goal of 100,000 letters!

Please act today to urge the stadium’s builders to make the right choice — use safer glass!

Bigotry Against Bison in Montana

Divided public comment starts rescheduled bison meeting

by LAURA LUNDQUIST, Chronicle Staff Writer The Bozeman Daily Chronicle | 0 Comments

BILLINGS – The group charged with exploring the possibility of a free-roaming bison herd in Montana has hard work ahead, according to many eastern Montana ranchers attending a Fish, Wildlife & Parks meeting.

“This is a pipe dream of somebody’s,” said Greg Oxarart of the South Phillips County Grazing District. “You as a panel — do you want bison in your backyard? Not many people do. I hope you take that into consideration. You have a tough job ahead of you.”

Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

FWP Director Jeff Hagener created the group to brainstorm where and how a free-roaming bison herd could be created in Montana.

Several of the 50 people in the audience carried signs stating “No free-roaming bison” and wore buttons bearing red X’s over a bison. Most were from Phillips and Valley counties, which contain the C.M. Russell Wildlife Refuge and the AmericanDSC_0128 Prairie Reserve.

Some had attended the first meeting of the discussion group in Lewistown in September. That meeting produced a list of guiding principles for any future plan, including respecting private property rights and managing bison as “wildlife” through a FWP management plan.

The group was scheduled to have its second meeting in Lewistown in April. But after receiving a number of heated emails and phone calls, Hagener canceled the Lewistown meeting at the last minute.

Some people were concerned by a series of events involving Yellowstone bison, including a court ruling that bison in quarantine remain wildlife, but a main complaint was that no time had been scheduled during the meeting for public comment.

On Monday, Hagener said no comment had been scheduled because the informal group was created for discussion and would not make any decisions. He also emphasized that the group had nothing to do with the management of Yellowstone bison.

“We are allowing public comment because a lot of the members of the group thought it was appropriate to have that,’” Hagener said. “Hopefully, we’ll come to a result that’s gone through a process with a lot of public opportunity, and we’ve allowed the public to be involved all the way along.”

Facilitator Ginny Tribe opened the public comment session with the reminder that any resulting plan would have a “no action” alternative where the state would not create a free-roaming herd.

“This group has already agreed on some of these principles so keep that in mind when you make your comments,” Tribe said.

Even so, comment ranged from vehement opposition to any bison to a proposal of the exact location on the CMR Wildlife Refuge where FWP should put 1,200 bison.

Dyrck Van Hyning displayed maps of the Southerland Bay region along the northern shore of the Fort Peck Reservoir in the CMR Refuge and said the 33,000 acres could house up to 1,200 bison, based upon the Bureau of Land Management’s grazing guide of 24 acres per cow.

“There’s no private land. There’s natural boundaries. This would be a good place for a pilot project that could start small,” Van Hyning said.

A Department of the Interior report on U.S. bison herds, released a few weeks ago, named the CMR Refuge as a good site for the transplant of bison but categorized future management as highly complex because of the resistance from nearby ranchers.

Hagener said the DOI would not move to put bison on the CMR Refuge without coordinating with the state of Montana.

That assurance didn’t assuage Phillips County ranchers, who cited concerns about property and fence damage, competition for grazing resources, the loss of livelihood and brucellosis. Some were worried about losing grazing allotments on the refuge.

Craig French of Phillips County said the meeting might not be about Yellowstone bison but ranchers can’t ignore the Yellowstone situation.

“If it was in my power to do so, I would hold these people responsible and throw them in jail for cruelty to the animals and mismanagement of the land,” French said. “At least we agree that things need to be grazed. We’re arguing over what should graze.”

Jim Posewitz of Helena also argued for the animals but said people have a moral responsibility to recover a species that they almost eliminated in the late 1880s.

“What happened in Montana is shameful. We have become the bone yard of a continent,” Posewitz said. “Will this be the point in Montana history where we become committed to finishing the wildlife restoration legacy?”

Sheep rancher Becky Weed of Belgrade said that bison and Montana cattle ranchers shared one trait that could serve as common ground for resolution: both need natural functioning ecosystems.

“It’s up to this group to try and explain to each other why the bison issue and the long-term cattle ranching issues are really one and the same,” Weed said. “This is a plea to the ranchers and to the environmentalists to understand why we all have a vested interest in seeking some kind of resolution to this.”

Following public comment, the group started problem-solving exercises to develop some recommendations by the end of Tuesday.

The Double-Crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah

Paintings Courtesy Barry Kent MacKay

Paintings Courtesy Barry Kent MacKay

First, I want to thank my friend Barry MacKay for the use of his wonderful cormorant paintings in this and the previous blog post, and for alerting us about the cormorant-kill crisis (through another list).

An avid birder, wildlife advocate and Canadian blogger for Born Free USA, Barry writes, “I don’t really understand the U.S. animal protection movement’s indifference to the mass slaughtering of cormorants that has been underway for so many years, while we are stopping it in Canada, but I strongly urge anyone who cares to read a book just published: “The Double-crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah, by Linda R. Wires, Yale University Press, 2014. It came a week or two ago and gives you all the arguments you
need to help protect these wonderful birds from myth-based fear and loathing by “sportsmen” who just like to kill (the birds are inedible).”

http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/book-review-the-double-crested-cormorant/

Book Review: The Double-Crested Cormorant

The Double-Crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariahthe double-breasted cormorant cover

By Linda R. Wires

Illustrated by Barry Kent Mackay

Yale University Press, 2014

 

Conservation biologist Linda Wires, in an utterly remarkable new volume from Yale University Press, takes up the cause of the persecuted Phalacrocorax auritus, the double-crested cormorant, a sleek, black-plumed aquatic bird from a family thirty-five or forty species found on every continent on Earth (although the double-crested is found only in North America). “More than just an account of a maligned and persecuted animal,” Wires writes, “the cormorant’s story reflects a culture still deeply prejudiced against creatures that exist outside the boundaries of human understanding and acceptance.”

The persecution she’s alluding is a deeply-ingrained cultural thing that’s almost certainly rooted in simple commerce: for almost as long as humanity has cast its nets into bays, harbors, inlets, estuaries, rivers, wetlands, and even ponds, humanity has also labored under the conviction that it has a cutthroat competitor in the double-crested cormorants twocormorant. As a result, even though cormorants in ancient China and Japan were for centuries domesticated into allies by fishermen themselves, they’ve been extensively persecuted virtually everywhere else. Wires stresses throughout her book (which is an absorbing combination natural history monograph and passionate manifesto) that this persecution continues today, and she’s very insightful on the cultural roots of it all:

When observed in its conspicuous spread-winged pose, common to several cormorant species, the cormorant acquires another potent aspect. In this notably bat- or vulture-like posture, the cormorant stands still and upright with both wings held out wide from the sides of its body. In this stance, frequently taken up after fishing, birds typically orient themselves toward the sun or the wind, presumably to dry their feathers or regulate heat loss and gain; some researchers have suggested that wing spreading occurs to heat up the bird’s food and facilitate digestion. Whatever the exact reason, the mysterious stance has an eerie, evocative quality, conjuring up images of crucifixion and vampires, and has fueled impressions about the bird’s dark nature.

“At the heart of the cormorant’s story,” she elaborates, “is the extent to which its current treatment is (or is not) based on sound science, especially relative to its management for fisheries.” No study past or present has ever demonstrated that double-crested cormorants are true rivals to any kind of commercial fishing, and yet, largely as a result of blind prejudicial momentum, near-extinction policies persist even into the 21st century. Wires lays out in cormorants onedetail the wrong-headed U.S. federal policies – several of which are up for renewal in June of this year – that allow for the wholesale slaughters of cormorant populations under the guise of “culling.”

The calamity of this kind of policy is leant all the more weight The Double-Crested Cormorant by Wires’s skill at describing the natural history of these birds, which are awkward on land (Wires notes their particularly their ungainly habit of hooking their beaks onto rocks and branches in order to pull themselves lurchingly forward, a sight I’ve seen and laughed at myself) but beautifully graceful in their natural underwater environment. They hunt by sight (they have flat corneas, which help in achieving a condition unknown to life-long book-readers: emmetropia, perfect vision) except when the water is too dark or turbulent, in which case they hunt by means as yet unknown. They nest in all manner of locations, and they’re doting parents. They’re deep divers, and although they’ll eat virtually any kind of fish they can catch (including some only a little smaller than themselves), they seem to prefer just the kind of smaller ‘junk’ species that are of no interest to commercial fisherman in any case.

It’s a quietly stunning double performance: Wires is equally proficient as both the Roger Tory Peterson of the double-crested cormorant and its Rachel Carson. Her preservationist advocacy is unflinching, and her nature-writing is eloquent – and the whole book is enlivened by gorgeous illustrations by Barry Kent Mackay, who not only captures the cormorant in all its moods and actions but also offers accompanying pictures of many of the cormorant’s fellow estuarine birds, including an especially ominous drawing of a bald eagle, and a haunting illustration of a great heron.

The result of all this is an important work, a benchmark popular study of a bird species that needs enlightened help in order to survive. The Double-Crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah ought to be for sale in the gift shops of every national park in the United States at the very least – and from the sound of Wires’s conclusions, several copies sent to Congress might help too.

 

SC hunters kill more than 11,000 cormorants

Painting Courtesy  Barry Kent MacKay

Painting Courtesy Barry Kent MacKay

EXCLUSIVE: SC hunters kill more than 11,000 cormorants

BY JOEY HOLLEMAN

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – ROBERT F. BUKATY

COLUMBIA, SC – South Carolina hunters killed 11,653 double-crested
cormorants on Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie in one month this winter in an
effort to reduce the number of the fish-eating birds on the lakes.

One hunter, whose name was not made public, reported killing 278 himself,
according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which released the
information to The State newspaper on Friday.

While hunters jumped at their first chance to shoot the long-necked, black
birds, the Audubon Society screamed in protest at the results.

“That’s a horrific number,” said Norman Brunswig, Audubon’s South Carolina
director. “It’s not a defensible action. I think DNR got bullied into doing
this and didn’t know how to get out of it, and a whole lot of birds died.”

Longtime anglers on the lake pushed their state representatives to convince
DNR to do something about the rising populations of cormorants, who they
claim eat enough bait fish to impact the game fish populations. Only one
small scientific study has been done on the impact of cormorants on the
Santee Cooper lakes, and it was done during a severe drought. That study
found an average of eight fish in the gut of cormorants.

That study estimated there were 6,000 cormorants on the lakes in 2008, but
anglers say the number has grown to closer to 25,000 in recent years.

A proviso in last year’s agency budget made it difficult for DNR to turn
down the request to set up a special cormorant hunting season.
Traditionally, cormorants are a non-game, migratory species, and hunting
them has been illegal. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in recent
years has approved special programs to reduce the cormorant

Painting by  Barry K. MacKay

Painting by Barry K. MacKay

population if
states requested permission.

In most other states, those programs allow only wildlife officers and
American Indians to shoot the birds.

In South Carolina, DNR didn’t have the manpower to make a dent in the
cormorant population, so it tried a different approach. Hunters who went
through a short training program and agreed to strict regulations were
allowed to kill the birds only on Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie, and only
from Feb. 2-March 1.

DNR leaders were stunned when nearly 800 people showed up at the first
training session. The 1,225 people who eventually were issued permits
surpassed agency estimates “by three- or four-fold,” according to Derrell
Shipes, chief of wildlife statewide projects for the agency.

Many anglers seemed eager to help reduce the cormorant numbers, but only 40
percent of the permit-holders returned the required hunt record documents by
the March 31 deadline, Shipes said. Those who didn’t record their hunting
hours and success rate won’t be allowed to get permits if there’s another
hunt next year.

Another proviso by Rep. Phillip Lowe, R-Florence, in the 2014-15 budget
compels DNR to allow a cormorant hunt next year. If there is a 2015 hunt,
Shipes expects it will be set up differently. The agency staff has to look
at what about the first season worked well, and what didn’t.

More importantly, wildlife biologists will try to determine “how significant
is that number (of birds being killed), and what will be its impact,” Shipes
said.

Brunswig wishes someone would do a large scientific study on the impact of
cormorants on the fishery. He’s certain it would prove “they’re slaughtering
a non-game species for no good reason.”

The 496 hunters who returned information forms spent 42,748 hours in the
field and averaged killing 23.5 cormorants in the one-month season.

The South Carolina numbers are much higher than in specially permitted hunts
in other states which rely on wildlife officers and American Indian tribes.
Hunts in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin
combined killed 21,312 cormorants in 2013, according to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.

Wildlife officials in Oregon and Texas already have contacted South Carolina
to ask about details of the local hunt as they consider how to set up hunts
in their states, Shipes said.

The Hummingbird Is Getting to be a Pest

DSC_0272Humans aren’t all bad—not all the time, anyway. We may be the most parasitic plague and destructive mutants ever to evolve on Earth, but occasionally our actions can actually help certain other animals.

Sometimes it’s unintentional, such as when people are driving the sandy beaches here030 on the Pacific coast. Vehicles on the soft, upland sand can disrupt or damage endangered snowy plover nests, and when people drive too fast right along the surf they’ve been known to run over migratory shorebirds feeding there. But on exceptionally windy days, while driving the beach in search of pelagic birds, like murres or grebes, washed up after brutal storms and now in need of rehabilitation, I’ve noticed that the shorebirds take refuge in deep tire tracks, hunkering down in the only cover they can find (especially if beachcombers have trucked off all the driftwood logs).

While leaving deep tire tracks in the sand can’t really be considered a direct, intentional act of kindness for an animal, keeping fresh, thawed sugar-water out for the straggler humming bird we’ve had here all winter surely can. The poor bird must have stuck around this normally mild, coastal region, rather than migrating further south, because of the late-blooming honeysuckle and early blossoming salmonberry shrubs. But now an arctic air mass has encroached for a week, bringing with it temperatures in the teens and wind-chills in the single digits. Frozen ponds and snow coating on the Sitka spruces and western hemlock complete this late Christmas-card scene, but I can imagine, to a high strung hummingbird, it must feel like the ice age is back to stay.

Photo Thanks to Linda Delano

Photo Thanks to Linda Delano

My wife has been the one diligently keeping watch over the feeder, being sure to exchange it for a thawed one every other hour on these iciest of days. But at first light this morning, while the coffee was brewing, I went out in my bathrobe before filling the other birds’ feeders and replaced his liquid refreshment. As it was, the hummingbird didn’t show up at until after 8:00.a.m. It must have been hard to leave the thicket he was crouched in and face the frozen wasteland to find out whether or not the human handout had turned into a sugar-water popsicle. He was lucky this morning. Hardly a steaming cup of hot coffee, but it must have seemed like the nectar of the gods to someone with such a high metabolism—especially after a long night spent burning precious energy trying to stay warm.

Were I of a different mindset (i.e., not an animal lover) I might say, “That hummingbird is becoming a pest. It could be considered a safety hazard, or maybe even a road hazard. It could be an exotic or even an invasive species. It might be time to call for a cull, or even a contest hunt on him.” But, fortunately for him, I’m not like that.

DSC_0022

 

Duck Dynasty’s Evil is Spreading

Some folks may be wondering why we let ourselves get worked up over a stupid faux “reality” TV show like Duck Dynasty; what harm are they doing by showing their hairy mugs for money and attention (and a lot of both). Well, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it: their idiocy seems to be catching.

In all the years I’ve lived by this waterfowl wintering area, people have been respectful of the No Hunting Access sign. Now you find spent shotgun shells along the road overlooking the bay–a sure sign that bozo Robertson wanna-bes are shooting out at ducks who take refuge in the calm waters there.

And just today a boat full of duck hunters motored their boat through a flock of 100

—Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

—Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013

trumpeter swans, driving them across the river to an island infested with hunters shooting from their duck blinds.

It only takes a few boneheads to ruin it for everyone–especially if they have their own TV show.

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Wildlife Refuges, Not Hunters’ Playgrounds

nohuntsign

October 16th, 2013 by Anja Heister

Once again, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wants to turn even more wildlife refuges into playgrounds for hunters and other “consumptive users” of wild animals.

The U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System includes 550 national wildlife refuges, thousands of waterfowl protection areas and four marine national monuments, totaling more than 150 million acres. Despite being called “refuges”, more than half of all national wildlife refuges are already open to hunters, trappers and anglers.

Consumptive users also have millions of acres of public and private lands outside the refuge system available to them to pursue their frivolous and violent activities of “recreational” trophy hunting and fishing, and trapping for fur. They should not be allowed in refuges, which often are the last remaining places for animal species already struggling for survival.

Furthermore, as the USFWS’s own 2011 survey has shown, wildlife watchers have already well outpaced and outspent wildlife killing interests. Wildlife watchers are a growing economic force, and their overwhelming preference to see living animals needs to be considered and respected.

Wildlife refuges, as the name indicates, should be true sanctuaries for wild animals where they are sheltered from the killing spree that surrounds them.

What You Can Do:

Please copy and paste the comment below to the USFWS and tell them that hunting, trapping and fishing should not be allowed in national wildlife refuges at all.

Please follow these steps to send your comment to the USFWS:

http://www.idausa.org/wildlife-refuges-hunters-playgrounds/

Sick Minds Think Alike

Well, the Boston bombers are finally caught or killed and the streets are safe to jog on once again. Now, the only questions that remain are, what kind of people use gunpowder and ball bearings to kill their fellow sentient beings, and why? Well, I ask those questions every day—at least during waterfowl hunting season.

Maliciously spraying lead into a flock of migratory birds may not seem like terrorism to you, but to the ducks and geese on the receiving end of the shrapnel, it certainly does. Don’t get me wrong and somehow think I’m in any way trying to belittle or brush off the horrendous cruelty inflicted on others by the Boston bombers. No, quite the opposite—I want to get to the root of this kind of evil and weed it out of our species, if possible.

So why do people do it? What could possibly motivate someone to bury any scrap of compassion they might have and prey on the innocent? How do they justify the act of killing so many and how can they rationalize away the cruelty they’ve inflicted?

Perhaps the answer can be found in a recent quote from filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, in this case talking about the growing menace of violence against women: “…it’s about a culture that views women as objects to be acted upon rather than fully realized human beings,”

Objectification—now, isn’t that just what we’re talking about when someone kills, bullies or otherwise victimizes another to further an agenda or satisfy their own self interests? Just as the abuser objectifies women and the bomber objectifies innocent bystanders, hunters view their non-human targets as objects to be acted upon, rather than as fully realized beings.

And speaking of objectifying birds, here’s Huffington Post travel blogger William D. Chalmers’ idea of a joke in the face of a potential global pandemic: an article entitled, “Avoiding Avian Flu While Traveling in China,” wherein he lists the “…top 10 things to avoid in Shanghai as a traveler during the recent avian flu outbreak:

1. No wet markets where chickens are “processed” for dinner. They do things different here in China, no plastic-wrapped boneless chicken breasts in aisle three… they eye-ball their dinner.

2. No squab on a stick as pigeons may be a migratory transmitter. Oh, sorry, you didn’t know squab was pigeon! The things you learn traveling.

3. No less-than-over-hard runny eggs for breakfast. And push away that soft boiled egg too.

4. Avoid alternative modes of popular transportation used by farmers, such as chicken buses!

5. Attracting and posing for pictures with flocks of pigeons in local parks and gardens is probably not a good use of your time.

6. Although well-cooked poultry is fine, you might want to rethink that kung pao chicken or chicken satay. And chicken soup may not be the cure for what ails you.

7. Look on the bright side: eating out in Shanghai is cheaper as KFC is offering super special promotions.

8. While visiting China and jet-lagged up at 3 a.m., maybe you should change the channel when Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds comes on.

9. Try to forget the menacing virus; odds are you’ll probably succumb to the smog or a traffic accident.

10. Three words: designer surgical masks! They are all the rage among fashionistas here.”

Okay, well I’ve got another point to add to his list:
11. Forget the KFC or other over-cooked poultry products—try the tofu; that way you won’t bring the bird flu back home with you to spread among the rest of us…

DSC_0035

Just Out for a Bit of Fun

“I think it’s cruel that they would take sport in stuff like that. Very cruel. It’s just sophomoric, juvenile.”

That quote could just as easily have been a humane person’s reaction to witnessing any legal goose, pheasant, elk or wolf hunt, but in this case it was in reference to a speeding driver running over 92 protected shorebirds on the Washington coast (on the same stretch of beach mentioned in this earlier post, Compassion for All, Not Just the Endangered).

Shorebirds, like the dunlins who were senselessly killed, huddle close together on the beaches this time of year, which makes the act of running over nearly eight dozen of them at one time no great challenge for anyone willing to stoop to such an act.

The driver was most likely just out for a bit of fun when they spotted the flock of migratory birds dead ahead. After plowing through the birds—who have an uncanny knack of flying off at the last minute to avoid any vehicle following the posted speed limit of 25mph, but who must not have been ready for someone going twice that speed—chances are the driver said to his passengers something like, “that was pretty neat.”

That same line was uttered by a Dubois taxidermist and outfitter, Joe Hargrave, who, on Oct. 5, just four days after their season opened, became one of Wyoming’s first hunters to legally kill a wolf since 1974.

“It was pretty neat to be able to hunt them because they’re a magnificent animal,” Hargrave said. “I like to see them in the wild just like elk, moose and everything else. It is nice to be able to have the opportunity to hunt them.” (The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming on Sept. 30, kicking off the first hunting season since wolves were placed on the list in 1974. Conservation groups have filed three lawsuits seeking to re-list the wolves; they are expected to be decided sometime in 2013.)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Wildlife Rehab Center of North Coast are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the illegal killing of the protected shorebirds. Meanwhile, thousands of unprotected migratory geese, deer, elk, cougars, coyotes and wolves are shot each year by people with the same motive as those thrill seeking, sophomoric, sociopathic beach drivers—they’re just out for a bit of fun.

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Road Hazard?

Driving to work early the other morning, I came within inches of hitting a bull elk who decided, at the last minute, to run across the highway right in front of me. Fortunately no one else was on that lonely stretch of road at the time, for if I hadn’t stomped on the brakes and cranked the wheel to the left, we would probably both be dead. I saw up close and personal how hitting an animal as large as that could do lethal damage. But the experience did not change my attitude on whether migratory wildlife should be considered a road hazard.

There’s no doubting the fact that we humans—in our full metal jacketed projectiles, lumbering headlong 60 mph through the former wilderness—are the real hazards. We’re the ones breaking nature’s rules by inventing machines that can go so fast they can put an end to anyone they run into. But, we drive like we’re saying, “We have important places to go—everyone else beware or be damned! No lowly animal better get in our way!”

If this incident had proven fatal for us, I would have wanted my epitaph to read: “I’m sorry beautiful creature. There’s nowhere I had to be that was worth the risk of ending your precious life.”