The Department of Natural Resources and its Division
of Fish and Wildlife are to be commended for a plan announced last week
to bolster habitat for both game and non-game species of birds and animals
(see story on this web page, www.bayoubill.com).
Still, there is plenty of room for individuals
who care about wild things to get in the habitat act on a smaller, but
Let’s face it, birds (and a great variety of
wild things) can always use some help in fighting the rigors of winter,
not to mention the natural inclination of nature’s children to prey upon
I have never quite known--or been able to develop
a philosophy--on how far man should go in taking sides in struggles that
pit one natural thing against another. But one day last fall I watched
in awe as a beautiful monarch butterfly became entangled in the web of
a huge (identity unknown) spider. Sensing a good meal, the spider headed
for its prey. Before the spider could reach the struggling butterfly I
used a long stick to extract the butterfly from the web, remove the silver
threads of the web, and watch the monarch flutter on with its business
of perpetuating the species.
On another occasion I became aware of crows trying
to rob the young of a robin’s nest. I shushed the crows off a couple of
times, but knew they would return until the turned the little birds into
lunch. So the next time the crows approached the nest I interveined with
my little 20-gage shotgun . . . making sure the doses of number six shot
went wide, but too close for comfort. And the boom . . . boom of the shotgun
must have helped.
In more than 50 years of turning out columns
on hunting, fishing, and enjoying the bounties of nature in other ways,
I have from time to time tried to encourage individuals to help wild things
with simple, but important, projects.
Back in the ‘60s, when bluebirds were finding
it difficult to find nesting quarters my “Hoosier Bluebird Club” inspired
hundreds individuals (including entire classes of many schools) to build
and put up bluebird nest boxes. Later, we encouraged individuals to simply
construct or develop dens for any species of animal.
Now we will go such projects one better by encouraging
the development of any kind of place to live for any species of wild creature
Launch a project of any kind to help some form
of animal or plant survive at a time when all kinds of habitat is on the
wane, and tell me about it via e-mail (billscifres @aol.com), or US mail,
and we will share your experiences with others who might like to get involved.
Pictures will be helpful, but not necessary.
HONOR FOR PAULA--The
late Paula Yeager, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation
for six years until her death last fall, recently was honored as the first
recipient of the Indiana Bow Hunters Association’s (IBA) first Dick Mercier
In presenting the award to Paula’s son, Corey
Yeager, Mercier, longtime director of the Indiana Sportsman’s Roundtable,
said he had always been impressed by Paula's knowledge of environmental
and conservation subjects and her energetic application of that knowledge."
Mercier noted that her tireless efforts on behalf
of Hoosier sportsmen and women had brought her the 2001 Indiana Department
of Natural Resources’ Conservationist of the Year Award. She twice received
the IWF President's Award, and in 2004 was recognized by the National Wildlife
Federation with its Conservation Service Citation. “She will be sorely
missed as we fight CWD, canned hunting, poor wetland legislation, and the
hundreds of other battles that we must face,".Mercier said.
The annual award of the IBA also I designed to
honor the work Mercier has done as the only director of the Roundtable,
the state’s largest organization of sportsmen and women.