Defund Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism

The KDWPT recently authorized the use of artificial light and thermal imagining equipment to hunt coyotes at night. Yes, that’s right; they are going to do everything they can to wipe them out. There is no scientific evidence behind this, but there is plenty of ignorance and bloodlust. Looking at the minutes from the meeting, it is shameful how they spun this without offering any scholarly evidence to support it. I guess in the age of Trump, I should not be surprised by this kind of dishonesty. Not only did they admit they have no clue what the Kansas coyote population is, it takes a special kind of asshole to say, “…this did generate a certain amount of animal rights responses, most of those were why kill the coyote, driving into extinction and the general anti-consumption these groups provide. If commissioners get an email and it sounds like it is not from a Kansas resident, google it and it will show where they posted before where these people are into animal rights. Legitimate stakeholders who have contacted me, I only had one negative response…” (Lauber, 2020). I am a legitimate stakeholder and a Kansan who is not in favor of this, and I am not alone.

Coyote
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It’s Been a While

It certainly has been a while since an update. While I have not been able to get to the wetlands as often as I would like, when I have gone, it has been considerably quieter than usual. I meet others walking there who have had the same experience and wonder, “Where are all the birds? Where are all the mammals?” There are likely several reasons–the large number of off-leash dogs, noise from the SLT, more people using it for running and biking, and of course, climate change. I like going when the weather is bad so I can have it to myself for the most part. That’s how I got to see this amazing mink.

Mink standing on log.
Mink standing on beaver dam, looking west
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Strange Summer

We are coming off a terrible heatwave in my part of the state. Interestingly, when it started last week, the oriole adults and fledglings just disappeared. We still have plenty of catbirds coming to the jelly feeders, but I have not seen an oriole in over a week. There have also been significantly fewer ruby-throated hummingbirds visiting this year.

Orchard oriole and Baltimore oriole.
Baltimore oriole fledgling and parent.
Baltimore oriole fledgling and parent.
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Bald Eagles are Magic

I went for a long walk in the wetlands this morning. Just as I was leaving, a bald eagle came swirling high above. It was amazing to watch them circling lower and lower before dropping down to the water and snatching a fish with such precision. I never get tired of seeing their speed and agility. I have not pinpointed where the nest is, but I know there is one nearby.

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Beautiful Coyote Encounter

One of the best things about cold days at the wetlands is how few humans are around. Fewer humans means I get to see more mammals, and that means coyotes. I love how they watch me from a safe distance. This one was getting ready to turn down the path I was on, saw me, thought better of it, and backed up into some brush. I stopped and waited for her thinking she would come back out and go where she needed to. Sure enough, she came out and ran off in the other direction. It is always a gift to watch them.

Coyote standing in winter grass.
Coyote running.
Coyote running.
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