Sunday, April 11, 2010

Springtime Earlier than Usual?

On today’s walk, I met a neighbor who is big into turtle preservation. (The same neighbor that has the big maple that the blackbirds go to.) He had just released some turtles into a drainage, and said the turtles were getting started a lot earlier this year. I was surprised, because it seemed to me that Spring had been pushed back by the big snowstorms. However, my neighbor asserted that a lot of things are getting started much earlier than he has previously seen, and pointed to some leafy bushes that don’t normally leaf out until later.

On my walk, I also inconvenienced a buzzard who was feeding on a road-kill possum. I saw my first buzzard of the season just last Monday. I recently read—but don’t recall where—an account by an African who says that it’s considered good luck if a vulture hovers over your village, (I think it may have been that the spot it hovers over is lucky). Of course, vultures don’t have much reason to hover over African villages, because whenever an animal dies, it immediately goes into the stewpot. I have read of incidents where an African bus accidentaly hits an animal, and half the people on the bus jump off to claim it. (Road-kill comes under the comprehensive category of “bush meat.”) Here, on the other hand, the roads are lined with dead animals, (so there is no excuse for any coyote or buzzard to starve in Michigan), and walkers eventually become familiar with every stage of decay. I wonder if there’s an inch pavement that hasn’t been covered with blood, or an inch of road frontage that hasn’t been some creature’s final resting place. As there are a number of subsistence hunters in Michigan, low-income people who hunt not for sport, but to feed their families, I wish there were some way they could be notified and allowed to claim at least the deer that get hit, considering the vast numbers of deer carcasses along the roadsides. I’m not trying to take a negative tone in writing this, it’s just something that anyone who walks on country roads can expect to see.

By the way, last Sunday, Easter Sunday, I saw the beautiful white flowers of bloodroot for the first time this season, so the bloodroot can be considered a symbol of Easter in Mid-Michigan. The bloodroot is spreading quite widely in a woodlot area that previously had none.

1 comment:

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