Back to Back Issues Page
Nature's Checks and Balances
July 16, 2018

The heat, humidity and no rain continues for now.

I'm not complaining so much, We have AC, and I can afford to water.

For the folks that don't have AC, and the farmers that rely on nature's offerings.

Check it out.

Late winter, or early spring I shared a picture of some young
Artichoke plants, and my hopes to see what might happen.

After all, Michigan isn't zone friendly for Chokes.

Yet, you can trick them.

Well, here is the first of what I hope to be a few Artichokes.

Pretty neat, huh?

I like to push the envelope.

For new readers, I've had good success growing cotton too.

Give it a try sometime.

It has been a busy weeks of fledged birds.

Black-capped chickadees are busy, as they beg mom and dad to feed them. 

I can get a couple within a foot of my hand, but not a single taking of the peanut chips I hold in my hand.

Fledged orioles come to the grape jelly feeder. 

Earlier with parents, as mom and dad were sharing the sweet, sticky morsels. 

Now, a few young come on their own.

Fledged, or juvenile orioles are a drab olive green color with a hint of orange.

No true wing bars or black head, etc.

I did manage to watch a couple of the Tree Swallows fledge this past Saturday.

I knew the day was approaching, as a young one, or two was frequently peeping out of the hole.

Notice one to the left perching and one in the gourd.

Coming home from a family picnic, I spotted one youngster perched, while another was peering out of the plastic gourd-house. 

I snapped this picture, and seconds later they were off.

Flying around with the parents and other siblings.

From hatching to fledging, It takes three weeks for Tree swallows.

They are small, and dull colored versions of the adults, ready to fly with little or no practice.

Still, I will be treated with their aerial skills for much of the summer.

Flowers gardens are beautiful right now. 

Biting flies are the scourge, replacing mosquitoes for now.

Still, you don't see nature happening stuck inside.

Nature's Checks and Balances.


Have you seen any of the documentaries on TV.

The wildlife stories where drama unfolds.

The harsh reality of nature where a pack of wolves run down an elk and savagely kill it.

A Bobcat pounces on a rabbit.

A Grizzly bear takes out a baby deer.

If you are like me, you sometimes don't want to look at, or see a young, or helpless animal's life end so violently.

Some how we don't think of the predator, or if and when it will get its next meal.

Yet, these are every day events in nature.

(even one bug eating another.)

Some how, if they are out of sight, they are out of mind.

We don't think of these things.

But, it is everyday life and death in the natural world.

Nature's Checks and Balances.

Cruel as it may seem, it is all part of nature's system to run smoothly.

Without the checks and balances, where would nature be.

There is even a clean up crew.

Vultures, crows and other birds.

Insects and worms.

All the way down to microbes. 

Natural Disasters, actually help to improve nature and wildlife.

God;s universal laws at work.

Some things we see in nature, we often call a disaster.

But is it really?

Fires do take wildlife and improve the landscape.

Floods take wildlife, but can improve the ecosystems along flood plains if left to nature.

Disasters are one of 'Nature's' ways of keeping a delicate balance in the natural world.

Sure, it may look like disasters take too much life, but nature always has a way of bouncing back, if we don't interfere, or interfere to much.

Natural disasters happen every day, or at least it may look like a disaster to you and me if we look short term.

I get upset when a bird nest is raided.

Eggs or baby birds become a meal for some other creature.

Sometimes another species of bird will be the culprit.

Life goes on for the parents as they may build another nest.

Think of this,

Take a conservative number of 100,000,000 breeding pair of American robins.

On average, each pair has two nests and each nest has three to four eggs.

If all the eggs were allowed to hatch, and all the hatchlings survived till next breeding season, we would be over populated with 1,000,000,000 robins.

Now do the math for one more year, using the billion as breeding pairs.

Birds would starve to death, not just robins, but other species of birds.

Get the picture?

Can you imagine what it would be like if all our birds survived and multiplied like that?

Thankfully, on average about 25% will see their first birthday, enough to replace the robins that die of old age and fall as prey and accidents.

Now this number fluctuates from year to year, as nature balances out the order of things.

This scenario plays out everyday with every living creature in the wild or world of nature.

We simply don't think of these things.

If there were that many birds, there wouldn't be enough food to sustain all of them and some would perish from lack of food.

Not to mention the damage to our food crops.

What would a rabbit population do if it went unchecked.

What about deer?

(In some situations, starvation is indeed part of the check and balance system.)

My thoughts go to the local pond, and how easy it would be to over populate the pond with snapping turtles, frogs, or fish.

Without snapping turtles, or other turtles for that matter, other populations would explode.

To keep turtle populations in check, there are predators that raid nests of buried eggs.

Great blue herons, and Green herons to feed on baby turtles as well (not to mention toads, frogs, and small fish).

Without these predators,  the frog and fish population would starve off and decline.

If that happened, what would happen to the pond?

Certain insects would be out of control.

Thankfully, Nature's laws dictate a certain amount of survival.

That is why some are predators and some are prey.

Some forms of life lay thousands of eggs while others maybe one egg or give birth to a single baby every few years.

Drama like this unfolds everyday.

Maybe not to this extreme, but it happens in your yards and gardens too.

Birds eat thousands of insects, yet some of these insects pollinate our gardens, prey on other insects, or may be part of nature's clean up crew.

Again, the cycle goes on.

Toads eat insects and a snake eats the toad.

Just like that, a bird of prey comes along and snags the snake.

Things we rarely think about, yet they happen everyday.

This is one of the reasons why 'Gardening for Wildlife' isn't just for birds and butterflies.

I can place netting over plants or spray repellents to keep deer and rabbits at bay or from eating certain plants.

I also plant critter resistant plants.

But I like wildlife............

I like some wildlife in my yard and I invite it.

When wildlife comes into my yard, I can enjoy it and I feel like I'm a part of the whole.

Even the chipmunks have a place in my yard.

I try to avoid insecticides and herbicides when I can.

Insecticides throw off parts of nature's balance.

Many reasons for the need to use insecticides is because we have used them too much in the first place.

Nature's disasters and laws have a way of balancing out over a period of time.

What is the saying?

“The Circle of Life.”

Should we stop helping nature, if we are messing with a natural order.

We mess with the natural order every time we strip a field or a woods.

Nature needs our help if it is to continue.

Feeding birds helps certain species to continue.

Butterflies need our help too.

We can plant host plants for butterflies to lay eggs on.

Offer toads houses etc.

Well, you get the idea.

So a raccoon may raid a nest in your yard, or a hawk nails one of your doves.

I don't like it any more than you do and I'm not setting the table for the prey animals, but it will happen and think of the drama you just witnessed.

Wildlife needs our helping hands.

It is only the human interference (not help) that wildlife disappears or goes crazy.

There is so much to say on this subject, but I hope you get the general idea.

We are appointed stewards of our planet.

Let's be good stewards and take care of it and enjoy the “REAL NATURAL WONDERS” that surround us.

I better end this letter now.

"Where nature is concerned, familiarity breeds love and knowledge, not contempt".

Stewart L. Udall

God's word.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:28

'The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it'.

Genesis 2:15

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,

We borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

Back to Back Issues Page