As a feathered mite of the great north arrived at its winter quarters soon after the first chills of autumn, it found a safe place among the canopy of trees around ever-flowing groundwater springs. This haven in the woods were a haunt where it had already spent previous winter seasons.
Each day of the 2014 autumn it ventured among the space, in search of a tasty bit, chittering along its way. As each of its needs for food, shelter and water were met, the little wren settled in to spend the next few months of its life-cycle, so it could then mightily fly northward in early spring to return to the boreal breeding grounds.
As the Winter Wren foraged about during one day, great noises were soon readily heard, though not understood. The sounds meant nothing to the little bird, but its fate was closely twined with the encroachment. The wren felt the earth rumble among its space at Spring Lake Park. There was an incessant whine heard as stately trees of many sorts were deliberately cut down with intent, though the bird had no known cognition of the sounds of a chainsaw. There were nearly constant, mutted thuds as portions of large trees fell heavily to the ground. Many trees were just torn from the ground in their entirety. All the woody debris was then carried away and piled for eventual chopping into mulch by huge mechanical equipment. Indifferent men working for measly dollars operated the machines, as defined within a contract of basic words on paper, as certainly signed by bureaucrats.
Nearly day-after-day, week after week, activities of destruction continued, unabated.
The wren responded in its own way, as its habitat was incessantly destroyed with intent for the supposed benefits of people completely ignorant of the life and ways of wrens in these woods. A cousin, the Carolina Wren was also losing habitat, along with so many other species of wild birds.
View northward from F Street into Spring Lake Park. Photo taken 30 November 2014.
The unexpected noises came closer and closer to the wren's haven in the hollow. Soon the woody deadfall and tree places that were once a place for this bird to forage, disappeared. Places where the flow of springs meant open water that provided tidbits to eat were simply gone, replaced by a vast expanse of barren ground devoid of any sort of vegetation.
As its habitat diminished, bit by bit, the wren kept to a smaller, safe haven within the park's remaining green space. By the end of November, its winter quarters were just one tiny portion of a hollow, north of F Street in the park. The expanse was too small to provide sufficient food. The distance to the next best place to forage was far away, in comparison to the birds small size, and yet further away to the south there was a protected spring that still flowed.
This little wren was enjoyed by a watcher at the end of November in 2014. It chirped and displayed as its species is wont to do during the winter-time months in Omaha. The active bird was the best moment during the birdmans stroll among the woodland destruction. It was perched upon a log in a "safe" hollow and was so expressive. The watcher knew that this portion of the park was once a haven for other winter wrens, but the situation for the last wren was obvious on a Saturday morning.
The lowland habitat of north F Street habitat was mostly destroyed. Lath markers on the south side of F Street indicated further clearing along the flowing brook where Winter Wrens had previously been seen on different, seasonal visits during the past decade. These tiny birds were certainly there previously, but no one took the time to look and appreciate this minuscule denizen of the park.
Whether enough suitable habitat remains for the Winter Wren to survive the harsh days of frigid winter is known only to the little bird. The City of Omaha has effectively decimated prime habitat for this species. Further work will continue the destruction south of F Street. City of Omaha officials and some residents of the Spring Lake vicinity have approved the destruction.
The wren did not have a vote about this CSO! project, yet it and an entire other multitude of birds suffer the most due to a loss of habitat. There will be no replacement of the springs in the cleared hollow, as it will become a pond. The northern extent will eventually become a stormwater retention facility.
The community has already "sung" praises for the result, since they expressed words of support at public meetings.
There were few speakers for the birds when City of Omaha officials, in their blah suits and ties spoke at public forums. There were no sorts of feathered beings present, as it is obviously impossible for them to present any sort of comment or perspective. The CSO! project manager and other City of Omaha officials appear to be indifferent to birds, rather being focused on cost analysis, available sites for projects, completion of goals, filing reports, etc.
The Winter Wren will strive to survive, though the habitat where they formerly survived will never be replaced.
A similar situation can be conveyed for the east side of Westlawn cemetery. What was once a place for this species of wren is now a desolate place, without any indicative winter birds, because of the complete removal of trees associated with a CSO! project, as partially funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
As far as the wild wrens and other wild birds, they have no choice but to deal with what the mighty men force upon the land.
Birds get little respect as they suffer the most from loss of habitat. They don't understand what is happening, and are forced to adapt in their manner.
The "fat-cat bureaucrats" get a regular check every week to nourish their needs, ensconced in big houses. They get paid to destruct places so important to birds!
Yet, the birds are forced to change their ways to suit the incessant demands of people upon the land.
At Spring Lake Park, so many wild birds need to find new sources of food. Nuthatches wonder what happened to a tree upon which they had once found something to eat. A Red-bellied Woodpecker has a similar sentiment. And, alas, the little wren has been forced to find a new haven.
December 4, 2014.
There may be more bird species present once this project is completed simply because of the addition of the pond which will attract waterfowl, especially, perhaps, the Wood Duck. There may also be an addition of a wetland meadow situation north of the pond. However, for the next decade, there will be a lesser extent of woodland species simply due to the loss of woodland habitat. If someone is going to make an alternative claim, they need to provide the basis for their comment, and that is not achieved through an anonymous post.
Comments are appreciated, but anonymous postings are not preferred, as they inhibit a dialogue.