The Dinosaur Told Me…

The dinosaur told me “be careful”
The dinosaur told me “beware”
The dinosaur told me “it’s happened before,
And the universe just doesn’t care”

The dinosaur told me “Extinction
Is the safest, conservative bet”
The dinosaur told me “don’t think you’re immune
Just because it has not happened yet.”

The dinosaur gave me a warning
She told me to share it with you
It won’t be an asteroid this time around—
We’ll be killed by the things that we do

The dinosaur pointed to history
And biology books on the shelves
The dinosaur told me what’s different this time
Is, we’re doing it all by ourselves

The dinosaur told me “be careful”
The dinosaur told me “it’s true”
The dinosaur said, “it’s a fight to the death,
And the enemy this time… is you.”

(click to embiggen, a bit.)

Today was a good day for dinosaurs. (Note–I am a big fan of Dana Hunter’s “Unidentified Flying Dinosaur” series.) Today, while watching an American Kestrel, I was completely blown away when the tiny kestrel, skittish in the presence of my camera, nearly flew right into the talons of a huge Osprey (I was reminded of fighter planes escorting bombers–the relative size of these two is astonishing). I saw five different species of ducks–mergansers, mallards, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, and the first gorgeous wood ducks of the season (got good pics of all, too! Yes, I am obsessive, why do you ask?). And a beautiful prairie warbler, quite the tease, very keenly aware of where my camera was pointed, and pointedly staying one step ahead (well, mostly… I got a couple of nice shots of him as well).

And all of them are dinosaurs. Isn’t that just astonishing?

The dino in the pic above is one of my all time favorites, a black-crowned night heron. The first one I ever saw, I saw in Greece, at Lake Kerkini. This one, I saw… well, lemme ‘splain.

I was getting my oil changed (well, the oil in my car), at an auto-service chain that will go unnamed for now, attached to a big-box store that will also go unnamed for now, that had apparently built on cheap land that had once been swamp. Or wetlands, if you want to be a tree-hugger. While my car was up on hydraulic lifts, I walked the perimeter of the parking lot; this shot was taken from the parking lot of a big-box store.

Isn’t it wonderful, what a zoom lens and cropping can do?

What you don’t see (mostly) is the horrendous treatment of the heron’s home. Discarded automobile tires–at least 8 that I saw. Bottles and cans too numerous to count–mostly soda, but quite a bit more, including antifreeze and oil bottles. Insulated coffee mugs. Wheels from shopping carts. Hundreds of newspaper flyers–no idea what was in the ink they used. An entire single-serving coffee machine, in pieces. Plastic bags by the score. Insulated foam containers. Not to mention, the runoff from the parking lot itself ran directly into the wetlands area, not into a storm sewer–all the crap that leaks from cars on a regular basis was flowing right into that pond. I’m certain I’m leaving out as much as I’m including.

The red deally next to the heron? Near as I can tell, a plastic bread rack.

I’ll be writing to the owner of the big box store, and asking for responsible action. Failing that, I have plenty of pictures, and the addresses of the local papers.

We’ve used dinosaurs before, to warn us. The canary in a coal mine is a dinosaur warning system; we’ve seen the stomachs of starving albatrosses distended with plastics. Dinosaurs know extinction. Will we listen?


  1. Trebuchet says

    One of my favorite UFD’s also. Are there no wetlands protection laws in Cuttlestate?

  2. Cuttlefish says

    I need to find out! The good news is, the people who would be most likely to know have offices one floor down from me. Sometimes these things just work out…

  3. haitied says

    Wetland conservation bothers me sometimes. . In the residential building world many areas wont let you come within 100′ of a wetland the boundary based on what kind of vegetation is found in the area, not the average water level of the swamp, but if walmart wants to landfill 10 acres of wetlands to build a giant supershitstore you bet your ass the town is gonna let them.

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