The birds of Santee Lakes have much to teach us
Photos and story by Donald H. Harrison
SANTEE, California — There’s a lesson to be learned from the water fowl that live, and visit, the Santee Lakes. They all seem to get along pretty well despite their obvious differences. We humans may have our racists, but in the world of water fowl, there don’t appear to be any species-ists. As the late Rodney King of Los Angeles riots fame might have said, “they all can get along.”
My neighbor Bob Lauritzen and I like to walk around the lakes. Sometimes we talk about our different religious backgrounds– he’s a Catholic, I’m a Jew — but mostly we watch the wide variety of birds, congratulate successful fishermen, and get our quota of exercise.
One day we might spot a pelican and a cormorant sharing a rock. On another day, a heron and an egret within yards of each other on the shore catch our eyes.
Sometimes, a seagull will drop in on a group of cormorants.
And sometimes an osprey and an egret will share the same tree.
Yet, as much as I enjoy seeing these interactions, I also treasure moments when the fowl participate in activities within their own groups.
For example, I like to watch coots (sometimes called mud hens) on their determined march.
I like to watch cormorants take over a tree, so they look like so much fruit growing on the limbs.
I like to watch ducks as they fish in groups — bottoms up!
Ducks, especially, impress me in pairs.
And who cannot but admire the denizens of Santee Lakes as they stand solitary guard over the sunset, or provide a foreground for the moon?
Yes, I’m glad the birds like to be with each other. But I’m also delighted that each species retains its individuality.
There is a lot we can learn from the feathered creatures inhabiting the Santee Lakes. We can learn that it is a wonderful thing to have our own identities, and still be ready to join in the society of many others.
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. He may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=33827