(This column first appeared in the October 12, 1998 Buffalo News.)

A collection of items that have accumulated on my desk:

Here they are. In Erie County: Tifft Nature Preserve and Tillman Road Wildlife Management Area. In Niagara County: the Niagara River Corridor. In Orleans and Genesee Counties: Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. In Wyoming County: Beaver Meadow Nature Center. In Livingston County: Letchworth State Park. In Allegany County: Moss Lake Preserve. And in Chautauqua County: Dunkirk Harbor, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and the Jamestown Audubon Nature Center.

For more detailed descriptions of these and other nearby places to enjoy, I recommend four regional guides: David Lawrence Reade's Beyond Buffalo! Bruce Kershner's Secret Places, the Adirondack Mountain Club's Wilderness Weekends in Western New York and William P. Ehling's Fifty Hikes in Western New York.

I leave to your imagination the many possible uses for such a device. In any event, if it is ever produced, goodbye to the last remaining shreds of our privacy.

Of course there are attendant problems. Trained dogs cost $5000 and handlers must be trained as well. Annual refresher sessions are necessary for both handlers and dog. The dog's usefulness is short-term and it must be replaced after five years. The Ai r Force can justify these costs because they reduce the number of bird-plane strikes, each of which costs them "tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars."