Date: 5/8/17 11:29 am
From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
Birding this morning, mainly west of Environmental Study Center, edge habitats near the lake edge in disk golf course. I was trying to suss out a Yellow-breasted Chat when I heard 3 gunshots-pause- then 3 or 4 more, down toward the lake. First gunfire in 35+ years of birding there. This put an end to what was to that point a fairly productive few hours:

Great Blue Heron (2), Red-tailed Hawk (1), Least Flycatcher (2), Great Crested Flycatcher (2-3), Eastern Kingbird (2), White-eyed Vireo (3), Warbling Vireo (3), Red-eyed Vireo (1), Northern Parula (5), Magnolia Warbler (1), Yellow-throated Warbler (2), American Redstart (1), Northern Waterthrush (1), Common Yellowthroat (4), Wilsonís Warbler (1), Yellow-breasted Chat (1), Summer Tanager (2), Lincolnís Sparrow (2), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1).

I heard the gunfire late in the morning and immediately headed over towards the ESC viewing deck. My assumption: someone with a pistol is shooting snakes. I HATE HATE HATE the part of Arkansas that thinks the only good snake is a dead snake. I didnít see who was shooting, but someone called the police and they were trying to sort it out.

I put it todayís shooting to snake killing because Iíve seen way too much of it. It is a common ignorance, now aided and abetted by the increasingly promiscuous plague of widespread carrying of guns everywhere.

My hope is that when the snake shooters wind up at the Pearly Gates, they discover that St Peter is not a friendly, gun-tottiní old white man with a long beard. Instead, St Peter is the much-persecuted water snake. Like it says in the King James Bible, ďVengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.Ē

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