To Kill a Willow Ptarmigan
This is a great time of year to see Ptarmigan in Yellowknife. You will find them under almost any deciduous tree or in the branches. Usually, I will carry my camera with me so, if I happen to have a few extra minutes I can capture these beautiful birds. Today was one of those days. However, Something different happen today. Today as Megan, Jenna and I drove around, we came upon two young teenage boys standing outside the house of a friend. Near where they stood were a flock of Ptarmigan. I stopped to get a few images and as I pull over I noticed the boys were carrying a piece of firewood each. It seemed a little odd to be carrying just one piece of wood each (or to be carrying firewood at all while walking along the sidewalk). Just as I made my observation one of the boys threw his firewood into a tree. He was trying to hit a Ptarmigan that was sitting there. The bird quickly flew away. As I stepped from my vehicle with camera in hand, the two boys looked at the flock across the street and made a couple of steps toward them. Once they noticed me watching they turned around and went back into their yard. I was pretty disappointed. I understand that Ptarmigan are good to eat, several years ago I even tried some that a friend had caught. These young men weren’t out hunting birds with a license, they were trying to kill them just for fun. Walking down the street throwing wood at the birds and laughing away. I was not impressed. I walked near the Ptarmigan and took a few shoots with my camera and lens. The boys had moved around the corner from me, putting the firewood back in the pile from which they took it. To my surprise there in the driveway was one of their parents sitting in a truck within sight of the whole event. I was not pleased. I decided not to bring up the boys actions and just quietly move along. Again, I am not a person who is against hunting (although I don’t do any myself). I know several people who get small game licenses every year. I have friends who go on duck and bird hunting trips every year but, these two young people weren’t doing that. They were just killing Ptarmigan because they could, for fun no other reason and for a parent (that I know really well I will add) to sit and watch. Well, that just made it worse in my opinion. Maybe I shouldn’t care, there are lots of Ptarmigan around but, I couldn’t seem to ignore it. I left feeling disappointed in my friend’s son and his friend. I was glad that I happened to arrive at the right time. Just in time to have them stop what they were doing. Next time there might be an injured or dead Ptarmigan on the sidewalk, it is obvious that my friend won’t stop what is happening. He might actually have to get out of his truck.
I am usually much happier after I get some Ptarmigan images. I usually talk about how I like to get images of them from behind so I can see the patterns their feathers make. I talk about their fur cover feet (down slippers is even the name on a previous Ptarmigan image I had taken). The contrast of their dark coloured tail feathers against the rest, all snowy white. Today however, I continued to think of the firewood boys. Did I say I was a little unhappy?
I guess I will move on and forget about happened while I tried to get a few images of these beautiful birds. I should be happy I was able to get some images. So, with my little rant done, I say thank you for stopping by, thank you for letting me vent and here are some of my Ptarmigan images from earlier today. Enjoy and as always Happy Shooting (cameras only).