January 5th, 2010


Blue Rabbit Urine and kids with guns

I got an email today from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. I had to google the acronym to figure out who they were, and their terse message indicated they wanted one of my photos. No offer to pay, just a request for permission and a for a higher-resolution image. They were asking about my blue rabbit urine photo. I'm not going to explain, you have to click that link and read it.

While googling NYSDEC I discovered an album full of photos of child hunters. By which I mean human children who hunt, as a hobby, not people or monsters that hunt children. There's something haunting about a picture of an eleven year old boy hoisting up a 42 pound coyote he's killed. Actually, probably an adult guardian killed the coyote, since I'm inferring that the age for firearms use in NY State is 14 (based on the deer hunter photos). (If I understand trapping correctly, the trapper sets a line of traps in the afternoon/evening, then checks them the next morning; animals are held in place but not killed by the traps, and the trapper shoots the trapped animal.)

And speaking of legally owning firearms, I got my FID card today. It's amusing to me that I got my driver's license just as I turned 30 and now I've gotten my first gun license as I've turned 40. For now, the card simply allows me to transport firearms as needed for work. I can see learning to use a shotgun and/or a rifle at some point (some point after we've moved from Massachusetts), as I think these are useful skills and useful tools. For the record, I am in favor of hunting for food, but I think it's absurd when people call it a "sport." Not that it doesn't take considerable skill, but it seems disrespectful to the animal to put it in those terms. Killing the animal by wrestling it to death, that would be a sport.

If I can find a higher-res image of my blue rabbit urine photo, they are welcome to publish it.

Urban Nature Pictures day 5

A lichen is a fungus that has enlisted the help of/imprisoned a photosynthesizing organism (a green alga or cyanobacterium) within its tissues. The helper organism/prisoner makes food out of sunlight while the fungus protects it from drying out or being consumed by other microorganisms. Lichens are long-lived and extremely hardy in most environmental conditions (there are lichens in Death Valley and there are lichens in Antarctica) but they are sensitive to air pollution. Urban and industrial areas tend to have poor lichen diversity. Lichenologists can tell, by noticing which species are present in an area, how severe the pollution is.