Monday, October 6, 2008

Mistakes I Have Made - Part 7

I continue to believe that we can learn from our Mistakes But, we must always allow for the actions of our good friend "Murphy" the purveyor of all things evil. Rule #57: "If there is a way to screw things up he will find it for you."

Shortly after the minions of the Devil himself - "Fire Ants" - arrived in this part of Central Texas quite a few forms of wild life began to be adversely affected and some even began to disappear. Cotton Tail Rabbits, Jack Rabbits, Quail and Armadillos disappeared altogether.

Even the Whitetail population suffered. It seems that the Fawns would lie silently hidden away while the Does grazed nearby. During this time the Fawns would become covered with Fire Ants. When their Mothers returned and found them this way they would begin licking them off thereby ingesting quite a few of them in the process and causing themselves great distress and in some cases even death.

I really missed the Quail singing away to each other in the evenings as they began to "Covey" up for the night. I was discussing this loss with a co-worker over coffee one day when he suggested that I raise some Quail and turn them loose to repopulate the area. Since he raised many different types of birds on his country place just across the county line from mine, I figured that he knew what he was talking about and I became interested in the project.

He assured me that they were not too difficult to raise, let me borrow a couple of books to get the project underway. He also offered to sell me some of his recent hatch for ..50 per bird which was almost 1/2 of the going price at the time. Just a little homework convinced me that this was something that I might be able to do.

I started by building three cages 2' x 2' x 8' framed 4' off the ground. I covered all the frames with 1" chicken wire and the floors with 1/2" hardware cloth. One cage was to be for general population and two were to be partitioned for couples. Within two weeks the cages were built, necessary equipment and supplies were in place and I was ready for the birds.

After work one Friday I followed my buddy to his place and purchased 50 small "Bob White" Quail. He loaned me two of his transport cages with 25 birds in each cage with a couple extras thrown in for good measure. I could not wait to get home and transfer them into their new home. Upon arrival at the "Turf" I grabbed the first transfer cage hustled over to the quail cages and poured them into the general population cage. I then went into the house to change clothes and let them settle in a bit.

After changing clothes I went out to my truck to get the second cage and transfer them as well. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the lid to the general population gage and there were no birds at all inside. It seems that they were all small enough to pass through the 1" chicken wire and disappear… Thank You "Murphy"!! Got to me again !!! (To Be Continued)

Take Care - Belwether


Mayberry said...

That just sucks! Details......

riverwalker said...

You can keep Murphy at your place!


Anonymous said...

I don't buy the fireant explanation for loss of wildlife. At my farm near Childress there are no fireants and there have been hardly any quail for several years. At my home in NE TX there are plenty of fireants and I'm covered up with cottontails and see jackrabbits from time to time. It's sometimes a fight to keep the cottontails out of the garden and when I plant small trees I have to put protection around the base of the tree to keep the rabbits from stripping the bark off. The whitetail population is increasing in the area. I still see plenty of armadillos dead on the highway.

Belwether said...

Mayberry: The tale gets even better - Stay tuned.

RW: I do believe "Murphy" has taken up residence for all time in the wooded parts of my Turf - Not to worry.

Bitmap: All I know is that they all began to disappear when the "Ants came marching in"

Take Care - Belwether