Just got my first number of Chicago WILDERNESS, but even before finishing the whole thing, I feel compelled to write about it. What a terrific rag!
Almost every article tells me what I hadn’t known before. I’ve been canoeing the rivers around where I’ve lived these years past — the east half of Iowa, central Illinois, central Minnesota — always pleased to enjoy the land as nature made it. So imagine my wonder when I read the Nippersink Creek piece in Spring 2005: “Past the…bridge,…the creek changes (to)….a dirty tunnel,” where follows a nice description of most of the rivers I’ve known, “channelized agricultural ditches,” banks…sheer mud walls,” carp city. Who knew?!
I grew up near Clark and Devon in [Chicago’s] Rogers Park, moved to Niles in the mid-fifties, had to leave home altogether before realizing that there is life besides Homo sapiens. So it’s particularly moving for me to read about what has been and is being done around Chicago. Most of my “nature” mags get drug down to the public library when I’m done with them. With the spring Chicago WILDERNESS, I’ve just begun a permanent collection.
I AM A CURIOUS MINK
To the Editors,
Two things inJudy Pollock’s article (“Birds of the Shrublands,” Fall ’05) demand further comment.
It is unfortunately true that today “shrubland birds are just as likely to be using invasives such as honeysuckle, buckthorn, or Osage orange as they are native plum or viburnum.” Ms. Pollock did not say this is unfortunate, but she should have, for research has shown that when birds build their nests in invasives — which leaf out sooner and which generally have stiffer branches — the birds become much more vulnerable to predators. In neglecting to mention this important finding, I believe Ms. Pollock makes it easier for people to continue to choose the invasives that are invariably still offered in some nurseries.
Worse, her list of “Mesopredators plac[ing] enormous pressure on the low-nesting shrubland birds” did not include one of the worst of all — housecats. The main reason cat owners must keep their pets under control is to preserve avian populations and biological diversity, but there are others: to keep cats from causing or becoming traffic accidents, maintain the integrity of organic gardeners’ work, and to prevent the transmission of pathogens and parasites to other mammals.
[Moreover, Chicago’s] leash law does not apply exclusively to dogs. Cats have a place for some humans as their companions, but that does not mean those individuals get free rein to inflict their pets on birds, people, or the rest of the natural world.
Editor’s Note: Craig Vetter wrote about the dangers posed to birds by housecats (“Of Cats & Birds,” Spring ’05).
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