A few years ago, I commuted regularly on one of our busiest freeways. One afternoon, I left a bit early and the traffic was moving at nearly the speed limit. Suddenly, approaching the intersection with another freeway, brake lights flashed and the entire 3-lane eastbound flow came to a screeching halt. Was the cause an accident, stall, emergency vehicle priority, lost load? No, the answer was the little clump of 6 that had been patiently waiting (I assume) in the concrete median for a slight break in traffic. The group consisted of a mother duck and 5 very small fuzzy brown ducklings, about the size of the ones pictured.
Traffic flow specialists, law enforcement personnel, and most others who work to expedite traffic tell us that we should NOT stop, swerve, or slow. Supposedly, squashing a duckling is minor compared with causing a potential accident and delaying hundreds of commuters by creating a jam. But have you ever seen traffic, even heavy rush-hour traffic, ignore the quackers and plow ahead? I haven’t in over 40 years of commuting. But that doesn’t answer the question; why do we stop?
Personally, I think the answer is that we see in the little guys hope and promise. They will have a tough enough road ahead. We want to be enablers and, in a small way, the single action of applying the brakes raises our self-esteem.
We’d love to hear about your wildlife experiences.
Guest blogger Bob May, CTO