The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 12, 2013

Nature’s way is a tough way

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Nature’s way can many times be cruel and hard to understand at times.

This summer and fall I watched a pair of newly hatched Canada geese grow up at a local pond that I pass daily. The geese were born with what I call a clef wing; wings that are bent and unformed making them incapable of flight.

I watched the geese grow up on the pond, seeing them daily. All the other geese would come and go but the pair remained behind unable to fly with the rest.

One day, one of the geese was gone and I never saw it again. Suspecting a predator got it I continued to watch the other goose up until the small pond froze over about a week and a half ago. It was there by itself most of the time with a flock coming in now and then.

I haven’t seen the lone goose for almost two weeks. Once the pond froze over it became easy prey for a predator.

Many times it is easy to say that this is nature’s way but to the person or animal it happens to this is no easy consolation. Nature can be very cruel at times and very amazing at others.

My wife and I are big bird feeders; especially her! It is a little expensive what we do but it is very rewarding as well. I get to sit by the window and see first hand some of nature’s treasures up close and personal as the feeders are just a few feet away.

My wife and I bought our three cats a special tower that sits at the window so they too could watch the birds up close as well; it’s now kind of a family affair.

I left home of the Post Office one day this week and there must have been two hundred birds feeding in our small back yard; when I cam back, there wasn’t a bird in sight except for one. On the fence post, near the bird feeder, sat a Cooper’s hawk, a bird well known for frequently visiting bird feeders.

I was up close and personal to this bird as it wasn’t 15 feet away watching every move I made until if flew off.

There was a complete absence of birds at the feeders for close to a half an hour then a few came back one at a time until the yard was full again.

Fearing and respecting the predator, the birds seemed to know and understand what was going on.

You can help out this winter as animals in your neighborhood have it a little more difficult when there is a snow cover on the ground. It’s not always how long you live but what you do to help others along the way while you are here that counts the most!

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net