A day for the ducks

This weekend Mr. M and I trekked out to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, for an afternoon of water fowl and barnyard owls.

A swimming hole.

(Unfortunately, sightings of our flexible-necked friends were few and far between.)

We did however, espy a few swallows, a couple of herons, many, MANY ducks (mallards and otherwise), and a crap load of other birds I don’t know the names of, because who the heck do I look like people?

Ranger Rick?


(I kid, I kid. Except not at all about knowing anything about the different species of birds I encountered. About that I seriously do know squat.)

A little guy.

It was a truly gorgeous afternoon – blue skies, brilliant sunshine – although the wind was a little snappish; I could feel each gust of cold sea air nibbling at my ear lobes, nose, my fingertips, and toes.

I was super thankful for my last minute decision to bring my winter coat, but even with the extra layer, I walked around with my arms speckled with gooseflesh (how appropriate for the venue, no?) for the majority of the time we were there.

However, when you’re strolling around a nature reserve, surrounded by hilarious, chirping, feathered creatures, your “problems” are put into perspective pretty darn quickly.

I sometimes have a really hard time visiting places like this because I get so over wrought with need to SAVE ALL THE BIRDS the world over.

A little gal.

(This reaction is much the same to the one I wrote about last week. See: Ethel v. SPCA adoption website.)

It’s also intrinsically tied to the paralysis I undergo every time I take out my recycling and see, once again, that the tone deaf dirt bags that live in my complex have once again placed their recyclables in the bin, in a bloody plastic bag.

For serious, one day someone is going to find my body, dead, splayed about on the ground in front of the blue boxes, empty cans in hand. I will have passed over to the other side from a complete and utter rage out (combined with a complete lack of understanding) over why someone would do this.


Good grief.

Yesterday Mr. M found a broken toaster in the recycle bin.


Okay, I need to take it easy. My heart probably shouldn’t be pumping this fast.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Seriously though, what the heck is the point of “recycling” if you’re not going to do it right? Wouldn’t it actually be better if they just threw everything into the trash, because at least that way they wouldn’t be buggering it up for the rest of us that actually, you know, care?

I thought about these indolent bastards as I walked about the park (but just for a little while – I didn’t want to give them too much airtime, or the satisfaction of ruining my entire afternoon.)

But then I started to think about how if the people who already inhabit the earth don’t care, what kind of destruction will the planet oversee when we have an even greater population of (I’m afraid to even imagine) people who care even less?

And then I thought about how many species of birds will be around for my children? Or their children?

Will this amazing bird sanctuary be a moot point because we’ve annihilated everything that would be targeted to live and thrive within the reserve itself?

My heart grew heavier and heavier just thinking about it all.

But then M took my hand, and we say on a bench and ate some grapes, and I slowly started to feel better.


This heaviness I felt was gradually offset by a new set of competing factors and thoughts – indeed it became harder and harder to imagine such a dark world, because everything and everyone I was encountering at the park was the complete antithesis of that humanity and ecological peril I was fearing.

There were so many families out together – parents, children, grandparents, babies – teaching, watching, talking, learning about the different plant life, the insects, and course all the birds – calling out to the chickadees, and marveling at the swooping, circling falcons, feeding the ducks, and laughing at the geese.

There were exchange students with guide books, young couples on early spring dates, long-time husband and wife duos, and bird watching aces with camera lenses the width of my living room.

A married duck duo.

There were so many people, out enjoying the sun, basking in the beauty of the day, the park, the birds – the earth.

That it gave me hope.

And continues to give me hope.

It gives me hope that the Reifel sanctuary will be here for years to come.


And that out there people actually know how to properly dispose of toasters.

Published by

Vanessa Woznow

Writer, runner, ranter, reader. I write about all things.

15 thoughts on “A day for the ducks”

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize this bird sanctuary existed. It’s so beautiful…I’d love to visit sometime.

    As for recycling, I hear you. When I worked for a recycling company, it always boggled my mind how many different ways people DO RECYCLING WRONG. Running the gamut from not rinsing out containers to throwing garbage in the recycling bin. Very frustrating.
    Also, it always gets to me how difficult it is to recycle things that aren’t collected by the city, and that the city doesn’t collect organic waste from apartments, but those are topics for another day.
    Great post, as usual.

    1. You MUST go! You and your super manfriend would absolutely love it. It really is fabulous. I can only imagine what it will be like in the summer!

      Urg, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be confronted with that on a daily basis! People are such noobs.

      Thanks lady!

  2. Looks beautiful there! Very different than my home today. I can’t imagine needed a winter coat anytime recently. I confess that I am always quite confused about recycling. My family and friends that live in our neighborhood are always unsure about what exactly should and should not be in the recycling, and how best to put it in there. When we have gotten a list from the city, it has so much stuff on it, it seems almost anything can do in there, but that doesn’t seem right… I ramble… Anyway, great post!

    1. It really is! And it was such a great day. We’ll have to wait and see if it warms up anytime soon. Alas, at the moment the prognosis is looking pretty bleak.

      I totally get the jitters that come with being a recycling neophyte – it can take a while to learn what goes where, what’s allowed, etc. It’s just the laziness of the people in my building. They’re putting their cans in the right spot, but then negating their effort because the cans are in a plastic bag. It’s just silly!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! :)

  3. This is awesome! Such a cool reserve, and the photos are beautiful. Love your heart shining through in this. It’s inspiring and you’re hope is contagious. Great post!

  4. Ah yes, recycling. What a huge pain in the tookus it is. Your entry today is timely, for I spent a good half hour sorting mine this morning, readying it to be hauled out to my car and driven to the recycling depot in town. I’ve been a serious recycler for years and still am not sure what goes where, what the local depot will take and what it won’t, and so on.

    And oh how I wish they would take it all jumbled up together and sort it at their end! It takes up so much space in my porch by the time I have a small bag (yes, a plastic grocery bag from the store, that I am reusing) full of each separate kind that they want: one for newsprint, one for office paper, one for magazines, one for plastic, one for glass, one for tin cans, one for cardboard.

    By the time I lug all those bags out of the house, I’m feeling perfectly noble, because you know what? Before I got serious about recycling, all that stuff was going into the landfill. Every month. Mindboggling, it was … still is, because I know a lot of people who can’t be bothered to recycle, even in this day and age when they know it’s irresponsible not to. They don’t have space, they can’t stand the mess, so on, so forth … whatever.

    So, I keep at it. Every little bit counts. My recycling efforts remain imperfect, but at least I’m making an effort and I feel good about that. My only wish is that somehow every last one of us would get the message that it’s not an optional action, it’s a necessary action, and smarten the hell up.

    1. What an inspired comment! Holy smokes I wish there were more people like you. It would save me from a heck of a lot of rage outs, that’s for darn sure.

      Thank you for helping reinforce my commitment to continue to green-up my life.

  5. Your pictures are beautiful, especially the last one.

    I have thought the sames things as you about the lack of care people seem to have of the world we inherited, which is the same one that our children will inherit. But like you, I’ve learned to take a deep breathe, understand I can only control MY behavior…and make sure I recycle as much as possible! Your contribution to world sustainability is much appreciated by your fellow earth-lover haha

    1. Thank you! It was such a marvelous day. We really had a great time bopping about.

      I’m so glad to have a recycling sister in arms. Together we’ll fight the good green fight!

  6. Hi – I am just catching up on your April entries because we finally have internet and it’s not even as limited as I thought it was going to be!!

    I was saving a reply for the last entry but this post had two of my favorite things in it: birds and recycling!

    We have this big tree outside our bedroom window and yesterday I saw a fantail!! (You should google it, they are stunning little birds that flit about and if you’re lucky they fan out their tail for a few seconds before it disappears into a more normal-looking bird tail again.) I am loving the birdlife here in NZ because it’s a touch more colourful than crows and seagulls and robins. Plus the birdsongs are so cheery and sound like they are from a Disney film.

    Also – it completely blows my mind when people don’t recycle, or recycle properly! Our landlords back home would separate their cardboard, etc but for some reason we always found the bag of separated items in the GARBAGE CAN!! When we had the chance, we moved it but sadly that didn’t always happen. Here in New Plymouth, you have to separate your recyclables into plastic bags before they will pick them up. The first place we stayed at – the hosts only separated their glass for some reason but threw out papers and plastic and everything! Then they complained about their limit of only one garbage bag per week! Man. I never realized what a hippie I am until I see people not recycling when the option is there and when it’s fairly simple.

    We don’t have somewhere to compost here yet and it’s making me feel so wasteful! A past apartment of ours in Burnaby had compost bins the residents could use and it was great. One night we ran into the woman who tended the garden and she was putting fish in the compost. The next day I was taking out our compost and found she had put the fish – inside a plastic bag!!! – straight into the compost heap! Too weird.

    1. She composted the fish in a plastic bag!? That is beyond bizarre! Glad to know that your new digs are pro-recycling :) It’s so weird when I think about all the different regulations that exist even across Canada. In Halifax, everything is so green oriented. Most people compost and everyone recycles, and same deal – they wont collect your stuff unless it is sorted properly.

      Also, those birds are bloody beautiful! What a treat to wake up to such beauty :)

      Glad to know that you two are settling in! The adventures are just beginning :)

      1. Ok one more detail about the story – when we ran into the lady taking the fish down, it was maybe about 8pm and she kind of seemed drunk. haha. So I have a feeling she didn’t even realize what she was doing. But she was sure excited to put fish in the compost! I think I’m going to have to ask our neighbours if anyone has a compost bin we can contribute to!

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