One of our local pharmacists travels on vacations, and takes photos. Pharmacies being what they are, people wait in line with nothing to do but count ticks on the clock. No one takes a book to the pharmacy to wait.
But the guy, Mark de Zeeuw, has a good sense of customer service. He got one of those photo frames that had a video display to show photos. Over time, it morphed to an extra computer screen, and probably an old computer (don’t know for sure).
At the Tom Thumb supermarket in Duncanville, Texas, customers get to see photos of the pharmacist’s travels. A lover of travel and photography, and a too-frequent customer at the pharmacy, I think I may have seen every photo on that harddrive. Many of them are very good. He travels to Alaska and across the American west, and he’s got at least one telephoto that works well on wildlife — this I know from watching the photos. I’ve never discussed it with the guy (who is always busy working on prescriptions, or fighting with insurance companies over the phone; Tom Thumb’s being a large company, there may be other pharmacists on duty at the time).
Okay, I’m shy. I’ve wanted to ask him for copies of several of the photos to share, one in particular. It’s a nice shot of the yellow warning/information signs you see at the side of a highway. With a bright blue sky in back, and obviously a lot of unpopulated territory, it says “Eagles On Highway.” I broke the shyness enough to learn it was a photo from eastern Utah.
Surely someone else noticed the sign?
Yep! Wonders of Google, Bing and flickr: Here’s a shot I found at Wanderlust Cafe:
“Eagles on Hwy.” Sign on eastbound Interstate 70, near the Moab turnoff in Utah. Photo by Lou Ann Granger, via Wanderlust Cafe
Out on Interstate 70, the rabbits and occasional ground squirrel, lizard or coyote fall victim to speeding cars in the night. In the daylight, carrion eaters — including eagles — clean up the road. Alas, eagles have not been bred to recognize those vehicles, tiny in the distance, rush at them at 70 miles per hour. Worse, it’s a violation of federal law and regulations to kill the eagles (few are ever cited for accidents).
Local authorities put up signs warning drivers of this odd hazard: “Eagles on Highway.” Drivers are supposed to slow down, be wary, and avoid hitting the eagles.
Others grew curious about the signs, too. The Deseret News in Salt Lake City explained back in 1990 that six of the signs were put up, in hopes of reducing kills of immature golden eagles.
They have to rank as the most unusual highway signs anywhere in the state. But preliminary indications are the six “Eagles on Highway” warning signs in central Utah are doing the job.
Not a single golden eagle was struck by a car during the 1989-90 winter season.In the two years previous, 30 golden eagles were killed and another 11 crippled by automobiles on a stretch of I-70 between the Colorado border and the San Rafael Swell.
“We don’t know whether it’s because the mild winter has spread the birds around more or whether it’s because the prairie dog population is down and the birds have moved elsewhere, or what,” said Miles Moretti, regional supervisor for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
“What we do know is we’ve received a lot of comments from people seeing signs and watching the birds and being aware of the problem. From a public awareness standpoint the program is a success.”
I wonder if we can track down someone in authority with numbers to show the signs are working after 25 years. And maybe I can get a copy of pharmacist de Zeeuw’s photo here — his is better, I think.
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Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.