Category Archives: Nature

“The joy of killing! the joy of seeing killing done – these are traits of the human race at large.” ― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

quote2 teddybear

The killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter has fanned the flames of  the controversy surrounding sport hunting. A familiar claim made by people opposed to sport hunting is that sport hunters “like killing things,” that is to say they enjoy killing for the sake of killing. This claim typically leaves me at a loss for words as it is so egregiously wrong. Yes, I enjoy hunting, but no, as hard as it is for you to believe, I do not like killing things. While most of my hunting expeditions are in pursuit of game birds I enjoy big game hunting too. To date my big game hunting experience is in the pursuit of the whitetail deer. My introduction to the sport of whitetail deer hunting was by Jason, one of my hunting buddies and a seasoned deer hunter, in 2011. It was not until my second season in November 2012 that I shot my first whitetail deer. It was a happy and exciting moment for me; the successful conclusion of the hunt with a whitetail deer harvested and secure in the knowledge it was a fair chase as the deer we hunt are wild, not the least bit habituated to humans. Continue reading

Advertisements

I love to be individual, to step beyond gender. — Annie Lennox

a2-psych-gender-dysphoria-5-638joshua-alcorn

The suicide of Joshua Alcorn on December 28, 2014 marked the tragic end of his young life. He was seventeen years old. His suicide attracted world wild attention as he published a suicide note on Tumblr in which he related the stress of suffering gender dysphoria (he felt he was a girl living in a boy’s body). This stress was too much for him to bear so he opted for suicide. He adopted the name Leelah in his suicide note. He leaves behind his grieving parents, younger siblings and the rest of those who knew and loved him. Details are emerging as to the stress he endured and a degree of dysfunction in his family. He came from Christian family; his parents (Doug and Carla Alcorn) did not understand what he was experiencing and essentially told him to “pray it away.” He said in his suicide note that his parents sent him to conversion therapy for treatment. Compounding this tragedy was the lynch mob mentality that took hold. Doug and Carla Alcorn experienced harassment, even a call from activist Dan Savage that they face prosecution. Is this warranted? Continue reading

“After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

66506_483152090378_1731430_nJuno1

In memory of my beloved Juno (May 21, 2008 – August 15, 2012)

“Each of us owes God a death.” So I heard Gwynne Dyer proclaim in an episode of his television series War. Death is a reality; it comes for us all. When I was a small boy I did not understand the reality of death. I remember, I must have been three years old and seeing my grandmother with some old baby clothes and toys she said were my aunt Lonny’s. My impression in seeing this was to imagine that people must grow up, then grow back down to being babies again. I asked my mother if this was so and she corrected me, telling me no, people grow, then they grow old and die. She added that nobody wants to die, but everyone has to. I did not really understand what it meant to die and did not give it much thought until I was a little older, maybe five years old when I asked my mother and father “what happens when you die?” They told me “your spirit goes up,” presumably to heaven. I still did not understand and was a little frightened by the prospect, but decided that must be a long way off so I would not worry about it. Continue reading

Mallard hen with duckling

Sole survivor

By mid-July on the Rideau River this mallard hen has only one of her brood left. She will have started out with a brood of six to eight newly hatched ducklings in May-June, but ducklings fall prey to seagulls, snapping turtles and other predators very easily. Chances are the surviving duckling will not survive its first year of life. This is the reality in the natural world: 85% of the birds and animals born in spring do not last a year, but enough do last long enough to breed the following spring and perpetuate their species.

Photographed and posted by Geoffrey

Brown-headed cowbird

Trio of male brown-headed cowbirds

Three male brown-headed cowbirds perched in the treetops next to the Rideau River, June 30, 2013. The brown-headed cowbird is unusual in that it practices nest parasitism. Cowbirds do not rear their own young. The female lays an egg in another bird’s nest and the cowbird chick hatches and is reared by the other birds. It pushes the chicks of the host birds out of the nest so it does not compete for food. Some species of songbird have adapted to this threat in building dummy nests to lure the cowbird to leave its eggs, leaving them free to rear their own broods.

Photographed and posted by Geoffrey

Gray catbird

Gray catbird

Gray catbird perched in the treetops at the edge of the Rideau River, June 30, 2013. The gray catbird is so named because of its call that sounds like a cat meowing. You can usually hear the call of the gray catbird in shrubs and wooded areas near bodies of water. If you meow back at a catbird, often it will respond and show itself.

Photographed and posted by Geoffrey