Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?


Painting by RJ Silletti- Meadow Larks

Uncle Mick came for dinner over the weekend and the conversation turned to the birds that once were on this land and now are gone. Mick even knew which page to tell me to look at in the Birds of North America guide.
Here's what once was and now is no more on this prairie:

Kingbirds- Western
Kingbirds- Eastern
Bobwhite Quail
Purple Martins
Prairie Chickens

Once the ducks were so thick, that as a boy he fired one shot and bagged 10 ducks that were in a row. At times the skies had been black with ducks- thousands that would land in the field while they picked corn. Someone commented that the waterfowl flyway had shifted away from here. But the truth is they are diminished.

There is a new normal. My kids have never seen any of those birds in the landscape. Unless someone tells them, they will never know they are missing. I never really knew they were missing. I look at all the relative abundance of wildlife we have here and can't see what I didn't know was once here. Meadowlarks would be unusual- not a part of the ecosystem I've experienced. And Big Stone County is a birders paradise.

Soon after moving here Mike and I agreed on one goal for our farm -- to have some meadowlarks return.


That is a shame. No meadowlarks, I wondered, thinking I could recall them from my relatives' Chicagoland farms. so I listened to their song at and sre enough -- blast from the past. Hope they are caling out your way soon, as it really is such a joyful song.

Come out to the state park -- we have plenty of meadowlarks and bobolinks. Not sure about the other spp, I'm not a professional birder. But yes, it is sad when you have to go to a special preserve to see and hear these beauties, rather than just outside your door.

What I would love to see (but obviously never will) are the huge clouds of passenger pigeons that once blotted out the sky.

That last comment was from me, by the way. :)


Will keep my ears open for that call. And Jo- thanks for the hope that our Big Stone State park and Prairie Scientific and Natural Area can maybe seed the rest of the county with the remnants of birds that are protected there. Thanks G_d for that saving remnant for our song birds and prairie quail...

Thank's D.R. for the http W/the sound of the meadowlark. Was always my favorite sound in the spring of the year. Always heard them when I was helping dad seed oats back when I was a boy. This country has sure changed! ES

You are such an amazing writer. Wishing you a strength and peace that surpasses all understanding as you continue to walk the high road … you are amazing, and I honor you for being YOU! You represent grace and dignity … with a smile that melts anyone blessed to be on the receiving end of it. God Bless you Always, Carrie!!!!

A lot of places are devoid of any bird life due to the interference of humans

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on August 3, 2010 4:27 AM.

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