Wednesday, December 20, 2017


"We kill all the caterpillars, then complain there are no butterflies."

― John Marsden

Caving to pressure from a small number of vocal Middleton dog owners, Dane County Parks, in an impulsive backpedaling move, reversed itself on dog prohibition at the prairie parcel of Pheasant Branch Conservancy today. It turns out they didn't really mean to install the signs due to a miscommunication. 

You can read the exchange among dog owners here.

Now meet your first lost Pheasant Branch Conservancy ground-nesting grassland bird species:

Once a regular nester from 2007 to 2013 (post habitat restoration efforts), this was the very last Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) observed and photographed at Pheasant Branch Conservancy's prairie during June 2013. There have been no documented Clay-colored Sparrows during the breeding season since. Why did they disappear from ideal habitat perfectly suited for them? I guess it's just a mystery. 

Because I believe removing the signs will increase threats to the welfare of nesting grassland bird species at Pheasant Branch Conservancy's prairie, I cannot in good conscience support Dane County Parks or the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. I will not be renewing my membership with the latter and encourage you not to support them. Apparently, both would rather have a dog park than an actual nature conservancy.

Clay-colored Sparrow © 2017 Mike McDowell

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