For years I have heard how people like to get away from the city to get back to nature. Hence, we have a whole new influx of families who are getting back to the land — gardening, rearing animals, walking, running, biking, hiking, boating, quadding, golfing and numerous other leisure activities in our beautiful outdoors of central Alberta.
We have had numerous conversations with friends and relatives over the years about how our new culture of transplants expect “the county” but really want all the conveniences of the city: the manicured lawns, the ornamental shrubs, the paved roads. They also want the little animals of nature to stay away from their freshly planted bulbs, bushes and domesticated animals.
I have heard of people shooting fox, owls and coyotes who take off with the family pet, shooting porcupine for eating their spruce, birch and elm trees, poisoning skunks to get them clear of their buildings, picking off skreech owls for making too much noise at night. But they think nothing of letting their cats out to consume the little nesting birds.
The whole point of my letter is that an osprey was shot recently for helping himself to fish in a backyard pond on the south side of Sylvan Lake. That osprey was probably the one that we would spend hours watching from our deck as he would swoop down and pick off fish from the lake, just to have an eagle chase him and take the fish away from him.
We have pictures of him, over the years, perched on a branch feasting on his catch.
Our grandkids spent most of their outdoor time watching and listening for that osprey. This fish pond, or expensive bird feeder, will also probably attract blue herons, pelicans or other endangered birds. Will they also be at risk?
We have always tried to teach our kids and grandkids to respect nature. Enjoy the animals at a distance — they can give you hours of enjoyment, and if you kill it you had better be prepared to eat it!
I wonder how the osprey tasted.
J. M. Fairhurst