Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Tree Canopy

The National Geographic has articles about scientists who haul themselves to the tops of rain forest trees in the Amazon River basin, and find up there a whole separate world of living things. Looking up along the Portage River, inside the city limits of Three Rivers, I see that we also have a canopy full of life, eighty or a hundred feet and more above me. Birds, mammals, insects, lichens and mosses live in the sunlight above the shaded marsh. I wonder if anyone has ever bothered to study this unique ecological zone? True, it may not be as romantic as going to the Amazon. But it seems to me that there is a lot going on up there.

I'd like to know why the dragonflies choose to sit on exposed snags so high above the river. I'd like to get a good look at things growing in the canopy, and watch the inhabitants. But I'm not a mountain climber so I don't think that will be happening. I can watch from below, but the dense, thick cover of leaves hides all but an occasional glimpse. I can hear the sounds, though. Locust, woodpecker, squirrel I know; but there are also strange unidentified calls and cries, whistles and chirps. What is happening up there?