Eye to eye with the locals of EEC Forest Stewardship
There are two Spring stars of the wildlife corridor trail cam at EEC. Weiss Creek is a thriving wilder space- returning to native nature, the original time capsule of human existence and recognition of surrounding life. Too deep? Well, here’s coyote with haunted holler and bone cracking smile. He/she/it/they/them have been cruising this territory for a long time, and we’re glad to see them from a distance. In the past, these jackals of the west have killed sheep from my flock, and might again still. That’s part of the living covenant between us as predator animals and adaptive opportunists. My most lasting solution to preventing predation is the introduction of our Kangal Livestock Guardian Dog, Gill.
We’ve had no losses since this K9 sheep specialist teamed up with EEC. He’s thriving in his work and the Katahdins trust him. Coyotes who experience Gill’s alert weariness and territorial presence shy away to safer ground. Our trail cam footage is far from the barn, several acres away in the wildlife corridor of the property. Here we support and appreciate the wildness, making space with plans to keep restoring and growing habitat until this land’s ultimate conservation as native forest. Long after Gill’s tenure, and many generations of sheep have come and gone, this land will be coyote’s domain, and hopefully, by then, elk, bears, and even wolves if we give them space. What a wonder it would be to see the great temperate rain-forests, and all they posses in rich diversity of life abundance, returning to this place, their home.
Near the trail cams we sometimes place leftover bones and scrap from animal processing, in small amounts, to focus encounter potential. This is always in the wildlife corridor, so as not to offer any land where sheep are or will be grazing as a meal spot. It prevents scent and territory cross over, and it’s working in our modest 10 acre system. Coyote is the most frequent visitor to the area, at least weekly, sometimes every few days if there are bones to pick at. And the scraps are gone fast. This animal is cousin to the wolf, but much more singular in appearance, sometimes as a pair, but rarely a pack in this area. I’ve heard the cackle of howling group antics nearby, but our cameras have never filmed a pack on this land- yet.
Heading up as our second star of the season, just arriving from a winter over The Cascades or further down the coast in California, our seasonal scavenger expert and forest picker upper of the best kind- TV!
It/He/They/She/Them are so handsome/dapper/depraved?- no really, these iridescent black feathered folks are playing the best role in nature- clean up crew. They are bold brilliant beings on a mission to find and devour bacterial dangers before bad outbreaks related to rotting flesh occur. The neck feather boas on this bird are shear genius in lay and color. If you catch a gimps of them during flight, you’ll see silver tips on the under wing. Bald head bloody wrinkle fest face might be hideous in high fashion, but it’s all the rage in cleanliness. This animal has one main tool for its job, a beak, made to deconstruct corpus putrefactio. These birds also sport a pair of goggles in a protective lens which covers the eyes during a messy meal. I was lucky to catch this optical shift, how cool.
Turkey Vultures had a bad wrap in colonial culture, much like coyote. Ranchers were known to put poison in a dead cow to kill scavengers like these two important ecological players. The TVs are protected now, and most people get what they do any why they need to be respecter in their cleanup role. Coyote, because they will kill a live animal, are still given a lot of shade. The attitude towards predator animals, who are also important workers in the environmental web we all share, will only change when we start reflecting on why mankind feels so threatened.