Roads take a big toll on wildlife. We have all seen the numerous raccoon corpses, dead skunks, the odd fox and, once in a while, even a deer that really was caught in the headlights.
However, there is a whole other class of road kill people rarely notice. It is all the small creatures that come to grief on car grilles and windshields. On my bike rides even I have to look closely to see them but they are there. The butterflies, dragonflies, woolly caterpillars, grasshoppers, praying mantids, tiny songbirds and assorted frogs and reptiles lying by the wayside. All of them just trying to get across the road unharmed.
Birds come to grief due to their belief that they can dart past a speeding vehicle at two feet off the ground. Another foot or two of height would save them but they persist in these dare devil low passages. Nature did not design wild critters to accurately measure our unnatural speeds.
Praying mantids seem to take to the roads in the fall with disastrous results. Snakes are trying to get back to their hibernation places. Frogs love to dance on the pavements during the rain, mostly a dance of death.
This year, thankfully, there have been many more monarch butterflies than last year. However that also means more dead beauties by the road side. Along with grasshoppers and dragonflies, butterflies are killed in large numbers by drivers who never notice the micro collision.
There’s not much anyone can do about this death toll among the tinier beings among us but at least we might spare a melancholy thought for that faint smear on the road that was once as alive as you or I and also had some place it was going.