Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The photos that might have been...

Today was not the day to be without batteries for my camera (they're busy recharging, which takes something like 18 hours!). These are the things I might have photographed if I had been able to (and you may find yourself silently grateful that this was the case...read on):

My nettle and violet tea.  I was inspired to further expand my use of our yardfull of violets by this lovely post.  It was delicious and as it sat steeping in a ball jar I wished I could take an artsy shot...yes, of my tea.

The fine bones of a bird skeleton.  This has been a bit of a mystery to me - I discovered something hanging in a small bushy tree in our backyard yesterday.  When I got a closer look it was clear it was a decaying bird, and what had caught my eye were the leg bones and foot hanging down from the Y of the branch.  I looked on the ground and found a few bones - the top of the skull, and I'm not sure yet what else.  I wondered why the bird would be stuck there in the crook of the tree, and then I saw fishing line wrapped around the body.  I was kind of stumped for a moment, but I suppose what happened was the bird became entangled in fishing line at one of the nearby lakes or the Hocking river, and tried to fly but didn't get far and died unable to free itself.  That this happened in our backyard brings me sorrow, but I know there would probably not have been much we could have done for it.  Still, seeing firsthand the destruction resulting from the careless release of some plastic line was stunning.

Seven baby opossums. Alas, another sad story, but with a slightly happier ending, we hope! When we showed up for Eliza's piano lesson today, her teacher took me aside and said, there is a mama possum down the road who has been hit by a car.  Her babies are still alive and I'm wondering if you could call the DNR Division of Wildlife and ask if you can take them in? I know this sounds like a strange request, but  in addition to being a busy lady, she gets that we are a homelearning family and that this is a rare and rich opportunity for many fruitful discussions!  So Eliza and I crossed the road with a shovel, gloves and a cardboard box and proceeded to scoop the mama with her babies, who were all still snuggled up against her and in her pouch, into the box.  Wow. Eliza so badly wanted to touch them, but they were newer than new, eyes closed, no fur, making little chuffing sounds.  I could just see the adrenaline rushing through E's little body, her eyes glowing alternately with excitement and tears.  She kept saying things like "I have never been this close to a baby possum before! I can't believe I am sitting in a car with baby possums!"  We also transported a whole posse of ants and at least two ticks, so it was not all that pleasant.  When we got to the DNR they took the box from us, and I could see the skepticism and I don't know...I am wondering if they will actually try and find a rehab for them. They are so small, they might not be strong enough to make it with adoptive parents yet.  I didn't know that it was illegal to take it upon yourself to raise abandoned wildlife - did you? I figured it was the good Samaritan thing to do!  Eliza now wants to look into what it takes to be certified as a wildlife rehabilitator.  

Grey Fox kit.  As we were leaving a man was getting out of his car with a grey fox kit in a box.  Its mom had also been hit by a car and the kit had an injured leg.  It was so so so cute, but young, and not very strong. Not a good time for wildlife along the roadways, with sweet offspring in tow.

Pawpaw blossoms.  The Pawpaw has become the official state fruit of Ohio, I believe, and is celebrated locally by an annual Pawpaw Festival.  We have a Pawpaw tree down the street from us and sidestepped smooshed fruit in the fall and collected the shiny smooth seeds a bit later, but I hadn't thought to look up and see what was happening in recent weeks.  There are beautiful dark maroon blossoms that I will photograph in the next few days and share with you.

Rain today, beautiful soft spring rain. Tomorrow? Thunderstorms.


Lisa said...

What an eventful day you had. The little bird story killed me, so sad. Eliza will always remember saving the baby opossums, i think you did the right thing (legal or not) by bringing them to DNR. I think it's illegal because they always worry that the baby animals hadn't been observed enough to actually know if the mamas are really around or not. I've called them numerous time and they always get a little snotty with me, drives me crazy. But I know there are a lot of people out there that easily assume a baby nest (mammal or bird) has been abandoned when it actually hasn't been. I bet the grey fox kit was the cutest!

Go Eliza and become that wildlife rehab., Araina (my youngest) wants to be an "animal saver" too.

The Pawpaw festival sounds fun! Did you know that pawpaws are the host plants for zebra swallowtail caterpillars? I'd check that tree daily if I were you. I want a pawpaw in our yard and am on the hunt for one at our local nurseries.

bigbooty said...

I did not know that about the zebra swallowtail caterpillars! we've been seeing them around at the local parks, they're so beautiful - i want to run down the street right now and check!! we have an imperial moth caterpillar that made a cocoon in the fall - i am so nervous that we'll do something to prevent its healthy emergence! we've had painted ladies before, but their metamorphosis is "normal" - this one is so long, they're supposed to come out in june, i think. maybe i'll put the large jar out in a safe corner of the yard...

Kerry said...

Baby possums! I hope they found a way for them to live. But in any case, what you did was better than leaving them there on the side of the road. You had to do something. As for the poor little bird, sad stories like this should be shared. It makes us more mindful of our actions.