There’s a war on locally. I don’t mean the war on D.W.I.s or the war on drugs, I mean the war on the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginiana. It was here on Long Island before we were, even before the first Amerindians, and is the only member of the antlered-mammal family native to Long Island, we never had moose, elk, or caribou. Apparently, being too native is similar to being too alien. I once heard a well-known gourmet writer on North Haven call them “rats.”
Saturday saw the beginning of the Christmas Bird Counts on Long Island, something that was started in New York City in the first years of the 20th century and has been continued annually ever since. At the beginning there were no bird field guides, no roll film cameras, no digital cameras, no birdcall players built into cellphones, no spotting scopes, and the binoculars in use were barely equivalent to opera glasses. There were many fewer observers and parties were still traveling around in horse and buggies.