26 04 2009

After a long day of canoeing the Oak Orchard Creek in Alabama, NY we got back to Beaver Meadow to find out we missed a phone call on an injured owl.  The message said a grey and white large owl.  My initial thought was a barred owl.  So I called the gentleman about this owl and heard an amazing story about how he found this owl in his brand new burn barrel.  When he tried to let it out it tried to fly but ended up just flapping around a bit and then went back into the burn barrel which was a 50 gallon steel drum.

I listened intently with memories of the hundreds of rescues I had been on where the caller claimed to have some exotic species, only to find out that the animal needing rescue was something more common.  I always hated the dissapointed look on the rescuers face when I told them what they really had.  So as I listened to the gentleman on the other end of the line tell me his story of this owl and how it came to be in his burn barrel, he finally told me his identification.  “It apears to be one of those Canadian Snow Owls”.

OK… Now first of all it is a 75 degree day in late April.  All the Snowy owls have already flown to the northern tundra in search of lemmings.  I thanked the gentleman and told him I would be there in 10 minutes.  I jumped in the car and headed over to rescue the Snowy Owl.  Of course I was certain it was a barred owl.

As we pulled into the driveway the kindly gentleman was there to greet us and led us right over to his burn barrel.  As I peered in I saw…

Snowy Owl

Just goes to show that sometimes you just have to believe that nature can throw you a few surprises now and then.


No Child Left Inside!

14 04 2009

I remember when I was young; I lived behind a town park where my friend and I spent most of our time. It seemed like the only time we were indoors is when our parents called us in out of the rain. No matter the weather, we were outside exploring nature or just having fun in the natural world. Our imaginations were endless as we used the outdoors as our playground.

As I look around at our youth today, I see a generation moving away from nature and suffering from this lack of connection. Not only suffering a lack of imagination and exploration, but also in their health. Studies have shown that a child who spends time outdoors is less likely to have Attention Deficit Disorder, child obesity and other illness. Don’t you feel better after a day outside?

So how do we turn around this trend of our youth staring at the television and video games instead of breathing some fresh air? It starts with us. Take your child or grandchild outdoors. Introduce them to the fascinating world of nature. Encourage our youth to spend their time outside in the sunlight. Invite a child to join you for a hike or some bird watching. Take a child camping or for a picnic. Don’t just send them outdoors. Take them outdoors.

Itchin’ for Spring

6 04 2009

I’m pretty certain that this is not the longest winter we have ever experienced in Western New York, but for some reason it seems like it is. Maybe it’s the age thing again. As I get older I like the summers better. Maybe it was a more extreme winter weather wise. Whatever the case, I am ready for spring to pop up around here.

It may have been the hike in the woods last week when the weather was summer like and I saw the leeks poking through the leaf litter along with a few other spring ephemerals that pushed my spring fever to the boiling point.

Last week was spent cleaning the gardens out, raking the stones from the edge of the driveway, putting the snow shovels away, taking down the snowfence, and removing the plow from the truck.

And here we are with a a Saturday of blizard like weather just a few days past and another snowstorm headed our way. That will teach me to try to figure out WNY weather.

As one friend said to me, this just adds more water to the streams for kayaking. The cup is half full I guess.