The old construct is that humans live in one place and nature is a separate place—represented most completely in the form of national parks, wilderness areas, and other areas that do not bear the scars of roads, developments, and human fabrications or settlements. And while The HSUS believes that we have a moral imperative to protect open space, to protect wilderness areas, and to set aside land as parks and refuges—and to safeguard corridors that link these areas—it’s more apparent than ever that the distinction between human settlements and nature is a false one. Nature is all around us, and we are part of it.
Boxes like this one are set up around
The HSUS office for bluebird nesting.
I was reminded of this on a morning birding jaunt around our Gaithersburg, Md. office led by John Hadidian, Ph.D., director of Urban Wildlife programs at The HSUS. Before coming to The HSUS about 15 years ago, John worked for years as a wildlife scientist with the National Park Service, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of urban wildlife.
He spotted wrens, robins, crows in the trees and meadows on our property during our leisurely walk around the building. We were attuned to the presence of birds, and the passing cars on the highway nearby seemed muffled as our ears picked up the chirps and calls of the avian life around us more clearly than ever. As we walked past our fleet of disaster vehicles clustered in the rear of the building, we spotted some wrens harassing a blue jay, in order to prevent the bird from raiding nests and absconding with any of the newborn chicks.
We took a close look at the bird boxes we’ve affixed to trees or the constructs we’ve planted in the ground. We saw plenty of evidence of use. And we saw the contents of our bird feeders only mildly depleted, with the birds undoubtedly favoring springtime’s riches.
There are 71 million wildlife watchers, including millions of people who feed birds. We proudly associated with them this morning to celebrate the nature in our midst. We activated our senses and put ourselves on alert. It was a nice way to start the day.
Watch the video from this morning’s birding below: