Friday 19 January 2007

"Rant and Response"

I regularly visit a few blogs related to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker because - regardless of my point of view on its current existence or former extirpation - quite a few of them are very exciting and I have always had a certain affectionate weakness for the lush forests of the southern US, at least from what I have read about them, having never been there myself.
Yes, I like those photos of big old trees and silent backwaters with all their suspiciously big woodpecker holes and barkscaling and I don't care if anyone gets a picture of a certain woodpecker now or never as long as those forest pictures keep coming (but any birder would of course love to look at a recent picture of an Ivory-billed).
Well, one of those blogs is not so much about the forests of the south, it is more about judging (or was that condemning, man I have to work on my English vocabulary) the way people are trying to prove the woodpecker is still extant. And to be honest, if I am in the mood for sarcasm and nasty comments I visit this certain blog, just like watching an action movie after a really nice day at work. In one of the recent comments, I found this statement by Patrick Coin:
He rants a bit on his blog, but heck, that is what blogs are for! The format of a blog is basically "rant and response".

I disagree. But I had an interesting revelation today ("now to something completely different").
My job, writing environmental impact assessments, has much to do with predicting animal behaviour. If I am for example to estimate the impact of a road construction project on roosting geese, I ask myself "According to my own observations and the scientific data that's been published: If I was a goose roosting there and they'd build that highway, how would I feel, how would I react?"

I have been a birder for a quarter of a century and I should think I have a rather profound accumulation of experiences regarding bird behaviour towards human presence or interference. However, sometimes I have to take invertebrates into account as well, like bees and grasshoppers or butterflies. And that of course was always much harder to do.
Until today!
I looked at the pile of work on my desk, the time schedules for many of those studies and reports and with the emerging panic and headaches came a sudden comprehension:

"Man, the way I am feeling now, this must be just like a small bug feels when he's wiped off a leaf by a urinating cow!"

I actually think this break-through should earn me a raise.

OK, if you couldn't follow me on my way to understanding bug behaviour and feelings, leave a comment and I'll rephrase it.


Anonymous said...

Damn right it should get you a raise Jochen - that is sheer poetry and very wise indeeed!!!

Jochen said...

I know, pretty smart... sort of.