great outdoors

September 21, 2011

I spent yesterday afternoon at Rocky Mountain National Park because I could.  (What’s the point of working for myself if I can’t take the afternoon off for no reason at all?)  Fall has hit, changing the air and weather and whole atmosphere of the area within a matter of days.  I have a feeling we may get an early snow this year, so I wanted to enjoy autumn while I could.

Like this:

The leaves have started changing.  In a couple of weeks, they’ll be full-on glorious.  The elk were bugling, which I had never heard before. The ground squirrels were out in force.  I must have seen one every twenty feet on the trail, stuffing its face with berries and chattering at me.

I hiked up to Cub Lake.  I was sitting on a rock, trying to ID some interesting diving ducks (lesser scaup in fall plumage?), when I looked away from my binoculars and saw this:

This duck has been fed.  A lot.  To the point where she was angry that I wasn’t feeding her.  She pecked and nibbled at my boot laces.  In fact, about fifty feet down the trail from me, a couple was feeding the ducks, and shrikes, and jays, and anything else that would come take food from them.  Which was everything.

This makes me so angry.  This is not natural behavior for a wild duck.  I want to come out here and watch wild animals being themselves (if they’ll even show themselves).  And to get this instead?  This isn’t an amusement park, people.  Show a little respect.

Still, I had a lovely hike, and it didn’t start raining until I was finished, which is all I can ask for.  I went and got a RMNP annual pass this year.  I plan on wearing it out.

6 Responses to “great outdoors”


  1. It isn’t just ducks. I live near Valley Forge National Park, and you can hunt deer with a crowbar. (Or any motorized vehicle, but that is hardly unique to VF).

    It sort of sad when welfare for animals alters their behavior to the point they don’t act like animals, but rather like spoiled pets. No it ain’t right.

    But, look on the bright side, in the event of the imminent collapse of civilization, there are animals even city folk can successfully hunt, thus ensuring at least some of the species will continue (assuming of course they know how to clean and cook whatever they catch…)

  2. Re WIlliams Says:

    … and the most amazing thing are the people who fed the BEARS bread. On TV I’ve seen several clips of this activity in Yellowstone. Natural selection.

    I’ve been attacked by swans because I refused to share my picnic. I ended up standing on the table screaming at them. Someone with bread came and ‘rescued’ me. (I’d finished my food or I would have used it to save myself.)

    Maybe the National park should start a program where park members area allowed to fine people who illegally feed the wildlife. Make a video with the i-phone as evidence and feeder must pay a fine of 100 dollars. People would learn quickly.

  3. musicalmom Says:

    Makes me miss the year we spent in Colorado Springs. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous pictures of that part of the country. And, I agree with you completely about the people who feed animals in what is supposed to be “the wild.”


  4. The phrase “nibbled to death by ducks” comes to mind…

  5. carriev Says:

    That wouldn’t have happened. I was *this close* to booting her back into the lake.

  6. Miss Bliss Says:

    Yeah…people here in CA have trouble understanding that if you feed the cute “little” black bears they might end up swiping your face off. Even the small ones have claws that will tear you up. Natural selection indeed. We didn’t get to the top of the food chain because we are bigger, faster, stronger or better equipped physically…it’s because we have the bigger better functioning brain. If we don’t use it then we lose and we should. Anyway…thanks for the photos and I hope you enjoy the park and will share more of your photos with us.


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