By Theresa Blume
Rain, rain, and more rain. In town we use our windshield wipers and walk faster to our destinations, but other than that it is just an inconvenience. It is fall after all, and soon those drops will be turning to snowflakes.
The farmers are much more inconvenienced with muddy fields, waiting to make hay and harvest crops, and keep livestock in saturated pastures. I imagine anyone working in construction is also affected negatively by the rainy days. We may not be immediately impacted financially, but I am sure when we purchase local meat and vegetables this winter the damage will be revealed.
Who else is being affected by all this rain? I saw a small example this week through a series of events that started with our daughter asking us to watch her dogs for a few days. During that time we had a cloudy but not rainy day, so I was able to go for a quick walk. I saw neighbors frantically mowing their lawns that had grown quite shaggy from lack of maintenance. My own lawn was being mowed as well, but I did not think too much about it until the next day.
My husband had taken one of the dogs out and came back in telling me that the dog had found something that I needed to see. I grabbed my camera and followed him to the back, behind the shed, and he showed me what had been exposed by the recently mowed ground. It was an abandoned nest of baby bunnies in a hole filled with water.
Naked and helpless, the tiny creatures had apparently drowned. Then I saw a slight movement from one, so I reached in and touched it. I could feel a tiny heartbeat within its icy cold body.
With shaking hands I quickly scooped them up and rushed into the house where I put them in a towel and attempted to warm them up. The other three never moved again, but the one that was alive began to squeak and jerk around.
I called a friend’s son who had recently nursed a kitten with a tiny dropper. He offered to give it the attention it needed every two hours until it could be given to the proper people. With my house already full of dogs and grandchildren, I reluctantly surrendered the bunny’s fate to someone else. I found out that it too died about 12 hours later. I consoled myself that this one at least died warm and cozy and cared for.
You may be wondering why I am concerned about one small nest of bunnies when obviously we have tons of rabbits, too many according to most gardeners. But if something is happening to one, it happens to others. When the dog found that nest, it made me wonder what other areas of wildlife are being affected by our extreme weather.
We put bird feeders and bird baths out, but what can we do to help other wildlife? I do not know what would happen if we did not have wild rabbits, but when one species is diminished it impacts the whole earth eventually.
This rainy season is an opportunity to stretch our imaginations and do our part to be stewards of the earth. Look around your own backyard, and ask yourself what you can do to promote a better environment for our natural wildlife. If each person did one small thing, it would make a big difference in our world.