The following is reprinted from January 2015.
Many, but not all, wild creatures own parcels of wild habitat. They mark the boundaries of their domain in different ways. Some of the more prominent ones are whitetail buck deer, beavers, and certain birds, the most aggressive being the mockingbird.
The bluebirds are quite docile except during nesting season, which in this area is mid-March through early August. Many times I have seen mockingbirds dive-bombing and attacking dogs, cats and even humans that get to close to their nest. And bluebirds know human friends from human strangers. For instance, there are several bluebird houses placed around our rather large yard. Like beavers and Canada geese, bluebirds mate and stay together for life and will nest in the same birdhouses year after year. Like our dogs, those bluebirds know and recognize members of my family. They don’t care if we get real close to their nest boxes, and often we open their doors and count the babies or eggs inside, but if a stranger comes close, they will swoop to attack him. I have held out my hand with food in it, and sometimes a bluebird will alight on my finger or wrist and get some of the food.
There is another species of wildlife that guards and defends its territory, and hardly anyone knows it. Certain bottom-feeding fish make small piles of small stones on the bottom of creeks and small rivers, and the male fish patrol and defend the area.
Nature has ways to fix or repair conditions that go wrong in the environment. It might take a few days or hundreds of years, but it will be done. I have said it many times, nature doesn’t take revenge or fight back. Nature reacts to undesirable or unnatural conditions. When anything challenges, attacks, besieges or attempts to change nature, whatever it is will eventually lose. Nature will prevail every time. About the only thing stupid or arrogant enough to go against nature is man.
An obvious and undeniable abuse of the environment by man was the white man’s taking of land of Native Americans in the early years of this country. Our lust for gold and money inflicted great suffering upon most Native Americans. Not only did we take away their homelands, but we also took away the dignity of a proud race of people. I recommend the reading of “The Trail of Tears,” an account of our government sending soldiers to round up the Cherokee Indians from North Carolina and Tennessee and forcing them to walk hundreds of miles across the Mississippi River to an area that is now Oklahoma.
Before the white man set foot in the New World, Native Americans lived in harmony with the land, the water, the air and all of nature. Then came the white settlers, and look at the environment in which we live today. Where do you suppose all of the cancer is coming from today? It’s coming from the poisons that we release into the land, the water, the air and all of nature.
Around 15,000 years ago, somewhere in Asia, perhaps the area that is now China, some believe that a species of dog evolved from wolves. For thousands of years, wolves lived in harmony with humans, and the domesticated ones that became dogs lived with and served man, guarding and hunting with humans. At that time, wolves lived and thrived in most places on the planet.
Now, in all fairness to everyone, there are some scientists who believe that dogs did not evolve from wolves, but were a separate species of their own. I have been handling wolves for many years, and no one will ever convince me that dogs’ ancestors were wolves.
Wolves can adjust well to almost any environment and are able to thrive in almost any region or climate on Earth. Trouble is, a lot of humans are afraid of wolves, and wolves are being slaughtered in most places on Earth. We here at the wildlife center know from experience that, despite what many people think, wolves are very gentle creatures, not trainable, but gentle. An important goal for us is to show the public that wolves are gentle and pose no threat to humans.
—Continues next week—