If you’re like me, you go there for peace of mind. Nature. Balance, in our too-too-busy world. Health – physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual. It all dissipates each footstep we take on the Devils Thumb Trail. We’re looking for the chance to glimpse something wild — a moose or a coyote or a fox — hear the calls of the Stellar Jays and Chickadees in the Ponderosa Pines…
How do you feel, when you catch a glimpse of brown fur dashing away deeper into the forest, out of the corner of your eye?
Maybe you feel a little more connected to the deer or the moose. You wandered into their habitat. Their safe place.
But, here’s the thing…
The moose or the elk or the White-Tailed Deer’s habitats don’t end at the boundaries of the Indian Peaks. They missed the class, informing them of where and where not to place their hooves. And in our increasingly paved-over existence built around Bugs’ Bunny’s rabbit hole, we are likely to see them crossing in between their now-fragmented habitats.
“Roadkill” has replaced hunting as the leading cause of death of vertebrates in our country.
What does any of this have to do with anything?
We’re all sharing space together. Our driven – pun intended – movements in our SUVs gives us an unfair advantage over them.
Awareness of their presence, is where we start. Simple. We share the landscape with the animals. They, too, are trying to move about.
We can expect to see the White Tailed Deer crossing Boulder Canyon around Rogers Park Open Space, or ambling across at the bottom of it just outside the City of Boulder limits at dusk.
Driving within speed limits gives them a chance. Wildlife travels at a slower pace than our vehicles.
Consider this: For every ten miles per hour you travel, you’re covering nearly 15 feet per second. At 30mph, that’s 45 feet per second; at 60 mph, it’s 90 feet per second. If a person needs JUST ONE SECOND to see something — that fox — and then reacts by hitting the brake or steering, — they gain an extra 15 feet of reaction distance for every 10mph you don’t go…
Fifteen feet can make the difference between saving the fox, and not.
Noticing the marmot living in the rocks just below Boulder Canyon would have afforded her life. I know this one well, I was the crazy woman gesticulating on her Triumph late last summer to scare her back off the roadside and into the rocks.
Just knowing the red fox is making her way out of her former habitat once previously enjoyed along the newly reconstructed Boulder-Denver Turnpike into safer lands — she got the eviction notice – and watching for the pair of bouncing blue eyes in your peripheral vision, can be all it takes to avoid striking her down mid-effort. (Me, personally, I lean over and honk as I utter an apology to my husband at the wheel.) Whatever safe effort it takes to deter and save her life.
These are the daily happenings of wildlife living in our midst, and we can make a difference, whether the doe returns home safely at night to nurse her newborn fawn, just by paying more attention, or her fawn starves because we forgot she is out in early Spring above Boulder Falls. Wildlife is there for the looking, all the time.
Notice me, we all want to be seen…So does wildlife!