Birds, cars, trucks, houses and food. Though not necessarily in that order, these are the things we talk about in South Delta. Fraught with angst, many commentators decry anything that is perceived as change to be an assault on "our way of life."
Often, letter writers and editorialists express concern about change by suggesting that our children and grandchildren will pay the price for our bad deeds. I haven't seen anything happening in my or my friends' family trees that would suggest anything terrible is looming on the horizon. In fact, I see people becoming generally more aware of how to adapt and to more thoughtfully participate in an everchanging community and world.
I am hoping that future generations will be able to prosper in a strong economy and that my children and grandchildren will live in a society that has adequate health care, access to education and jobs. I also hope they will be able to afford a home and raise a family.
I hope they will be able to afford fresh food and buy Kraft Dinner if they want to.
These modest hopes and wishes come with a price in Western society. Maintaining a strong economy requires strong marketing and sales with our trading partners and requires appropriate infrastructure in order to compete. Our human ecosystem is important and I think sometimes we lose sight of that.
In Delta, we spend a lot of time talking about other ecosystems, particularly those of migratory birds. I am a backyard birder for the most part and have a thriving meeting place in my apple tree where so far 18 species have showed up to chow on the buffet presented in my squirrel-proof feeder.
I am an avid walker, and have been amazed by the sight of evershifting flocks of sandpipers on Boundary Bay and elsewhere.
Watching eagles teach their young how to hunt from the cliffs of Lilly Point is about as cool of a sight as you will ever see.
I am not a pro birder by any stretch. I don't have the binoculars, telephoto lenses or $500 camouflage Gortex pants. I'm just a run of the mill person who likes a bird just as much as the next guy.
I suppose if I really got in to it I would better understand some Pacific Flyway concepts that have always proved puzzling to me.
Farming started to occur in our neck of the woods when lands were cleared in the late 1800s. Since there were no farm fields or farmers prior to that, I assume that resting spots for migratory birds would have been in the marshes of the Delta where the Fraser meets the ocean. From what I understand, this is where the majority of the resting takes place now.
I could be mistaken but presumably the Pacific Flyway has survived without farmland for eons.
The terms "migration route" and "flyway" are to some extent theoretical concepts, while the latter has, in addition, come to have an administrative meaning. Info from birdnature.com just highlights how massively complex these routes are and really show how farm fields in Delta are a microdot on the Pacific Flyway to the casual observer, which in this case is me.