The nesting season was winding down in NE CT, and I was doing an end of season check on some boxes in a vineyard. The boxes are mounted on wooden posts. One box had the beginnings of a House Wren nest, with a blob of loose grass and fur on top, so I figured it was a mouse nest. I removed the nest and whipped it on the ground. Out popped a female mouse. (I'm not sure whether it was a Deer Mouse or White-footed Mouse.)
She ran up the post, and I saw several nursing young hanging on her. As she moved up the post, these three pinkies dropped off of her teats. Their skin reminds me of elephants.
I was weak, and returned all the young and the nest to the box. I know I shouldn't have done, as mice foul a box, and adults may eat bird eggs and young. However, it's too late in the season for anything but House Sparrows to start nesting here.
You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is vital not only for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself—a point that seems to escape many people.
-Gerald Durrell, The Nature Conservancy
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