With camp over, this has been a pretty mellow week at Shepherd’s Corner. It has given me time to work on other projects for Ask the Land, and do some reflecting on my time here so far.
I made a brochure this won the birds of Shepherd’s Corner. After the birding excursions with Jim McCormac and another group from Sharon Woods Metro Parks, we have added six new birds to the list since the 1997 Ask the Land survey! The new birds are the Green heron, Ring-billed gull, Eastern towhee (pictured below on left), wild turkey, Cape may warbler (pictured below on right), and an Orange-crowned warbler.
On the inside page of the brochure there is a checklist of all the birds on the land, and it gives visitors the opportunity to go out and find as many of the birds as they can. This mini challenge gets people engaged and connected with the creatures that have made Shepherd’s Corner their home. People are able to see, up close, the habitats that support these birds, and many other animals, which makes preserving the land a more personal experience. The brochure also emphasizes the global impact of our actions. These birds are not only having effects on this environment, but also on the environments to which they migrate. An example is the Scarlet tanager (pictured on right), which summers in Eastern North America and winters in Costa Rica. We rely on birds for the seed disperal and the survival of many plants, and these plants are a food source and home to many other creatures. Therefore it is important to protect each piece of the web of life in order to keep life going!
This week has also allowed me to do some reflecting on how the land is being affected by the introduction of the surrounding housing developments. There is a lot of construction that is taking place around shepherd’s Corner, and I can only imagine the daily stress that it puts on our wildlife. Since this land is one of the only large forest areas for many animals to go, there is increased competition for food, resources, and shelter. This means that many animals have to put even more time and energy into either foraging, defending territory, or raising their young which leaves less focus on two of the others. This could mean less seed dispersal of plants, eventually leading to less food for humans. And this isn’t just an issue of Shepherd’s Corner. It is occuring world wide.
As humans, we rely so heavily, whether many know it or not, on so many other life forms for our existence. It is imperative that we gather our resources and knowledge to protect this earth. It is the only home that we have.