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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019
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Doris Lynch
Bloomington, Indiana, USA


A Green County Pilgrimage

From the patio of an information center on an Indiana knob, I notice a number of ponds and sloughs reflecting the midday December sun. A half-mile away, I spot a long pond shrouded in white. The ivory spills onto the fields and wetlands surrounding it.

The sign at the entrance should have been a dead giveaway, “Paid for by hunters, anglers, and trappers. For all wildlife to thrive and all people to enjoy.”

A ranger tells me that the snow geese rest and recover en route from the Arctic tundra to points south. Last week the Christmas birders tabulated over 30,000.

“Can I walk closer?” I ask.

“Yes, but don’t spook them, and watch for hunters. Not many today.”

I assume the hunters scour the farmlands near the reserve.

Outside again, I feel joy watching the huge bank of birds--more than I’ve ever seen in one place before.

Suddenly, a rifle crack sounds, then another. As one, the immense bevy lifts, squawking and swirling. Raucously, they steer in one direction then the other. I turn too, toward the car, toward the two-lane highway, water lapping its shoulders, my euphoria gone. Replaced by a great sadness. What sport is there in shooting at such an immense target?

Killing such beautiful birds? Wishing I hadn’t come, I decide to take the back roads home. No news, no NPR, just hell-fire rock and roll.

battered field guide
all the birds
I will never see

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