January 3rd, 2010

attack pigeon

Attention Bird Feeders of the North!

Hey, you people who are throwing bird seed and bread onto the snow:

YOU ARE FEEDING THE RATS.

The birds survived The Ice Age, they will be fine.

Even if you aren't literally feeding Rattus norvegicus you are mostly feeding house sparrows and pigeons, which are, ecologically speaking, worse than rats. And if you don't have those birds, you surely have deer mice (Leucopus sp.) and chipmunks, the two main carriers of Lyme disease in the city.

Hang a suet cage if you must, but don't worry about the birds, they will survive--and those that don't weren't meant to. Sorry, shoveling snow brings out my callousness, and those are the facts.
marchfirst2005blizzard

Urban Nature Pictures day 2



This carriage bridge is one of my favorite features of the Riverway. It has a stairway on it, which is the way that thousands of people per day get from the Longwood trolley stop to their schools or their jobs in the hospitals nearby. When Olmsted designed the park, there was a path for horse-drawn carriages, and they would pass underneath.

The arch underneath I've heard described as a "musical (or acoustical) arch;" if you have your back at one wall you can speak quietly and be heard perfectly clearly by someone at the other wall. (A similar effect happens inside the walk-through globe at the Christian Science Center.) Sometimes musicians practice within it. On one memorable occasion, I saw a band and did a reading underneath the arch.

The visible big trees are mostly red oaks, and the biggest ones had to have been there in Olmsted's day.
marchfirst2005blizzard

Two ways to get about in the snow

You may have noticed I've posted about a million times in the past three days. In large part, that's because it's been snowing more or less nonstop, and it's something to do that doesn't involve getting cold and wet. So, sorry about that. Here's that last of it for a while.


This weekend getting about by cross country ski seemed like a pretty good idea. The fanatic salters couldn't keep up with the snow, so even the paved paths were good for skiing.


And if your feet hurt from the salt, and you don't know how to ski, try refusing to move at all, so that someone will carry you.