The natural world is complex, intricate and delicately balanced. We need only look at a re-introduced species to discover how much we do not know, how much remains mysterious and puzzling.Of the eleven whooping crane pairs that built and incubated nests on the wetlands of the Necedah Wildlife Refuge, WI, all eleven abandoned their nests within a short expanse of time earlier this month. The abandoned nests were reminiscent of the previous year when a similar occurrence happened. Biologists remain puzzled and can only speculate about a number of possibilities.
Was it hot spring temperatures that hovered in the low 80’s that week, the density of black flies, or some other subtle environmental signal not yet identified? Is it the inexperience of the young adult birds or the absence of natural parents at an early age that somehow lessens perseverance? Or perhaps an unlearned vocalization between the adult and the chick prior to hatching? (These adult birds were raised in incubators with the sound of the brood call.)Answers and resolutions are not always up to us. No one really knows how many failed nests occur in the natural population that remains in Wood Buffalo in Canada. And no one knows if we can reverse what is causing this disruption. It is something to watch and to ponder. My guess is (if I can be so bold), barring something environmental that is more widespread, the whooping cranes will work it out by trial and error. They, like all other species, are driven to reproduce. Just how the culture and ecology of this re-introduced group of cranes may have changed because they are captive reared by costumed humans, remains to be seen.
It gives pause to the fact that we determine species endangerment by counting species numbers rather than looking at the bigger picture—the culture and ecology of the species.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.