“It was pretty disturbing”, said the gentlemen before me. Recognizing him as a birder, I had stopped at the north entrance to the park to visit and compare notes. “When I was here on Thursday,” he said, “the eagles were completely decimating the eggs and all the herons were lined up in the trees about 100 yards away looking very angry.”
“It is sad,” I remarked. “I heard the same thing happened last year and it makes me wonder how much more the herons will take before abandoning this rookery.” He shrugged and the two of us stood quiet, starring off into the distance, contemplating the loss of the Blue Heron nesting grounds.
Maybe I was raised on too much Disney and not enough Planet Earth, but there are some parts of nature that just make me queasy. I’m drawn to nature watching because of the intense beauty and diversity of the subjects, but when they start eating each other I’m reminded that it is not all cute and fluffy. It’s not just eagles eating heron eggs, I’m also distraught when I see a stand of alder completely wiped out by beaver activity or a flat of native grasses and sedges plowed through and eaten by Canadian Geese. A mouse writhing in the talons of an owl about does me in.
There is a part of me that wants to step in, insert control. “Stop that”! “Play fair”! “Leave that alone”! But I know from observation that we don’t do a very good job of trying to redirect or control natural forces. So, I suppose for now, I’ll accept nature’s method and do my best to not impact the path. I’ll observe what seems like record numbers of nesting Canadian Geese and fewer numbers of Great Blue Heron and while I might think that a poor development for North Creek Park wetland, I’ll keep still and see what nature might unfold over time.
Still, should you see me on the boardwalk with my hands over my eyes and sporting an anguished look…know that I’m just blocking out the queasy parts!