Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A.I. Field Journal Entry #2

Second Journal posting
Our First shoot went swimmingly and we collected samples from 124 ducks total! Of those birds sampled we counted 78 Mallards and 46 Northern pintails. We had a moment or two of hesitation when an intruder passed through our site and I am convinced that slowed my team down. A fat little skunk waddled his way right by our set up. It wasn’t at all interested in being anywhere near us but had been frightened in that direction by a farmer driving a combine through his field. Wildlife and humans often have to find ways to coexist when habitat meets human development whether the development comes in the form of agriculture, a new home or a sprawling city. This farmer shares his land as habitat with skunks, deer, coyotes, Northern leopard frogs, toads, garter snakes of various colors, voles, musk rats, dragon flies of many species, song birds and birds of prey (raptors)… the list goes on and on. Each organism shares the land and shares a part in the ecology on and near this refuge. I like to think of each organism as a stick in that game “JENGA”. With many sticks or organisms the structural support is obviously quite strong and solid; but as you take away sticks or organisms you begin to compromise the structural integrity of your JENGA tower. A weak tower is not likely to last in this game and will eventually topple just as an ecosystem can weaken and topple if too many pieces are taken away. Granted, ecology is a bit more complex than the fun table top game but I think you get the picture.

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