Thursday, August 8, 2013

Isaac and his "pet" Game Birds

Wild turkey and pheasant at Forestry, Fish & Game Museum
Isaac Werner loved wild birds.  He not only used the flights of ducks and geese to be warned of the approach of winter and celebrate the welcome arrival of spring, he also noted in his journal the return of each type of song bird.  For example, on February 17, 1890, he wrote, "Larks warbling first time for spring.  Birds livening up for spring."

Ducks and beavers at FF&G Museum
He had a flock of quail for which he scattered corn in his peach orchard, and when the Blizzard of January 1886 froze his birds, he grieved for them as if they had been his pets.  You can only imagine his anger when he caught a neighbor poaching game birds along the edges of his property, birds which had become quite tame because of his feeding them.  Times were hard, and neighbors were sometimes hungry for meat, but that was no excuse to Isaac.  On November 18, 21, and 22, 1890, he wrote in his journal:  "...some loafing Scroundrel Stambaugh following my tree rows with buggy shooting my quails."  Continuing:  "...seemingly Stambaugh loafer shooting more quails on timber claim tree rows.  I out after him but he making distance keeping ahead of me.  I penciled 7 board notices 'No Shooting' etc. to nail up at roads and corners."  And finally:  "...nailed up Shooting notice boards, warning tresspassers."  A few years later the Kansas legislature passed laws protecting game birds--too late for prairie chickens but providing protection for other birds Isaac loved.

Bobcat scares up a quail at FF&G Museum
Recently we visited the wonderful museum at the Kansas  Forestry, Fish & Game Headquarters just   east of Pratt, Kansas.  The impressive display of native birds and animals made me think of Isaac and his love for wild creatures.  (Except skunks!)  I hope you enjoy the photographs I took, and perhaps you will want to visit there to see more of the displays at the museum.  Remember, you can click on the images to enlarge them.


Talya Tate Boerner said...

Very heartwarming to know he grieved over birds even throughout his own hardship.

The Blog Fodder said...

Catching up. Farm people always note the birds arriving and leaving as part of the cycles of the seasons. Cattle were not the only life that froze in the winter of '86, I guess.
A good man, to grieve the loss of birds he tried to save.