Last week on June 7, my absentee neighbor apparently hired a bushwhacker to neaten up his three acres raw land out here in the sticks.
Upon walking up the road same evening, I was greeted with a loud clamor of birdsong, saw the manicured landscape, and realized nests had been destroyed in a couple hours of mindless “spring cleaning.” Indigo buntings, field sparrows, carolina wrens, even a brown thrasher were obviously in a distressed state. A rabbit kept running back and forth across the naked field.
The owner is clueless. The bushwhacker has no idea of the hundreds of living creatures he killed. Another patch of functioning wildlife habitat disappeared with a few sweeps of an inane machine at the most inopportune time. Waiting until July would have at least spared most of the nesting birds.
The next morning I walked up to silence. No birds, no butterflies, no bugs, even no blackberries left ...a virtual graveyard which would probably please most land owners. Neat, at last!
I picked up a smashed painted turtle who was too slow. Reminds me of a powerful piece about Tortoise vs. Goliath. It’s entitled “burial,” the first chapter of a novel, Hayduke Lives! Author Edward Abbey poignantly reveals the unknown in four tearful pages. Goliath wins! Who loses?
Would be kind to delay mowing until July when most birds have at least completed first nesting. Less invasive is to walk rather than ride the machine. Creating walking paths with a hand-driven weedwhacker on larger parcels of country property presents a more interesting and attractive landscape and leaves some safe habitat for wildlife.
Debby Boots — Franklin, N.C.