Aug 17, 2010
Wildlife in the Heartland
If you're old enough, that will make you think of Burl Ives. So stop humming and ponder this endangered species -- once endangered, at least, according to one of our senior local ecological worriers.
About four years ago Miss Jayne spent the better part of a summer enhancing her reputation for rilly rilly caring by ragging us unmercifully about the fate of the little jumpers. It seems she discovered that we mere humans were driving them to the fate of the Dodo.
In the first place there weren't many of them any more. Worse, we were turning them into mutants. Frogs with two heads, or five legs, or the back ones misplaced so they bumped their butts on landing.
That sort of horror. She pleaded with us to "do something." Or stop doing something. She didn't say exactly what, so we were confused.
(Well, yeah, Miss Jayne's dire warnings moved me to quit running them down and injecting them individually with PCBs and DDT and farm chemical residues. But that hadn't been all that much fun lately anyway, and advancing age meant I wasn't quick enough to catch all that many of them.)
Something bigger did occur, though, because neither she nor anyone else has been publicly bemoaning the death of the leopard frog population recently, and today I can personally testify Camp J is flush with spotted hoppers.*
I swear that I am severely slowed in lawn trimming by having to shoo the little jumpers out of the mower path. This one landed in a leaf pile under the old burr oak on the east fence line. He held still for the picture, and I suppose that's his way of showing gratitude for the part I played in saving him from the great Jaynestinction. However we did it.
I feel so proud. I almost feel like kissing one and seeing if it turns into a senator from California.
*Or, as we sometimes call them, "bass bait."