In the three years that I have been living in a more rural location I have been fortunate to be able to experience nature more up close and personal than ever before. It has enhanced my life in many ways. I have become a better photographer and more importantly a better person.
Unfortunately or fortunately, being more present in nature I have also witnessed the struggle to survive that goes on daily for the wildlife that surrounds us. I have seen a hawk in hour yard fly off with a freshly killed rabbit. I have watched as smaller fish are eaten by larger fish. I have walked in the grass only to find a hatchling who has fallen from its nest and died. And this is only what I have seen happen and what I have seen happen in my own back yard.
I have walked out on my deck to find a small dead bird. I don’t know if it died of natural causes and its last breath happen to occur on my deck. I don’t know if one of my dogs was able to catch and kill it. Although that seems unlikely to me as it was a warbler which usually lives in the wooded area which is inaccessible to my dogs. Perhaps it was attacked in the woods and flew from the woods to escape and succeeded but was dealt a mortal blow in the process expiring on my deck. I will never know.
Today I was picking up he dog food dishes after the dogs were done eating in the house and one of them was near the door which has a full glass panel and I saw something flitting along the ground on the deck just outside the door. I went outside to check it out and found another small warbler, alive but injured. It allowed me to pick it up and I tried to look it over for injuries as best I could. It was bleeding from its head and had blood running around its left eye. It seemed to be stunned and other than the bleeding OK. It did not make any attempt to leave my hand though. This concerned me.
I was not sure what to do. I had to leave for work and was now running late. I thought about going inside and waking my wife and seeing if she wanted to look after it until it was OK to fly away, but I did not want to risk going inside with it and chancing one of the cats or dogs trying to get it and hurting it more. I walked over to the side of our yard where the dogs cannot go. I sat crouched down with it in my hand for a few minutes stroking its back. Trying to calm it down as it was trembling and panting. After a few minutes it finally seemed to start to relax and even flicked its wings but did not fly away. I thought about setting it down in a hidden spot where I could come back and check on it after work but I was fearful that I would only be leaving it as bait for a predator. Then I decided that since it flicked its wings I would see if it could fly. I tossed it up into the air a little bit and it took flight. It was not a graceful slight as it started off by making a small circle and bumping a few branches but then seemed to get under control and circle around again and fly into the woods and out of site. Hopefully my feathered friend is OK and will still be in my woods somewhere watching me when I get home.
These experiences make me ever more grateful for the things that I have and the lifestyle I have that our ancestors and others today still do not have. I do not have to worry daily about where I will find food or if I will go hungry. I do not have a daily struggle just to survive as much of our wildlife does. I try not to take for granted all of the human conveniences that we have available to us. If I am hungry I can go to the store and by some food or even make a phone call and have it delivered to me. I don’t have to go out and stalk prey for hours on end in the hopes of getting a bite to eat and hope no one bigger or stronger than me comes and takes it away. I do not have to go out grazing and foraging for food constantly exposing myself to predators that would like to make me their lunch. And that is just the advantages I have when it comes to food. I also do not have to struggle to find shelter or other resources that I need. It puts a new perspective on things even if tough times. I can look at nature and see how good I still have it.