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Wildlife in Your Life

 
 
jespah
 
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:28 pm
No, I'm not talking about the frat boys who live down the street. I mean the animals in your life, the ones you see around that aren't anyone's pet or livestock. The ones that live out in an uncontrolled environment and not a zoo. The ones that fend for themselves.

We all live in very different places so I imagine we see different kinds of animals. This morning, RP and I saw a little brown bunny rabbit across the street. It hopped a few houses down, possibly to visit the convenience store (Irish goods a specialty) a few blocks away. Scones for the little fluffy one!

The other day, I was driving home from work when I saw a deer. And no, I didn't hit it with my car. I thought, actually, that it was a very large dog, but then it boinged straight up - jumped up - kind of like they do, and of course then I knew it was a deer. No antlers so it was a lady deer. And no hunters around, unless suddenly Route 2 is fair game for hunters (I'm thinking, eh, prolly not).

Of course I also see birds. Over the summer I saw a couple of red-tailed hawks. And during warmer weather I see skunks and raccoons, plus the usual squirrels. At work, there are wild turkeys and chipmunks that come to visit.

Plus, eek, I've also seen mice and rats, both at work and at home. Hey, it's New England, it's getting cold, they're looking to do some denning under my front porch and near the work parking lot. Can't blame a critter for trying to survive, I think.

So, what have you see recently? Smile
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 37,563 • Replies: 748

 
InTraNsiTiOn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:35 pm
There are 13 deer accross from my moms house right now....I got the binoculars out and counted...hehe
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:46 pm
Coolness! Are there any with big racks o' antlers?
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InTraNsiTiOn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:50 pm
Nope, not this time!! Hunting season ended yesterday here(not that i'm a hunter) Anyways, we also see moose, wolves, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, bears, the list i'm sure goes on....living in the boonies and all....lol
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:56 pm
Oh, neato, much more exciting than my urban stuff!
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Dec, 2005 04:59 pm
The wood storks are in town. They are so ugly, that they're gorgeous. And you should see them fly! Very Happy
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 12:21 am
Oh, boy. We have a river park with a permanent deer population. I've seen up to 12 at one time. Also muskrat and beaver, though you can go months at a time without seeing either. I think our red tail hawks are permanent - the bald eagles drop in for the winter. We've also got mallards year round, and are home to a thundering herd of Canada geese at the moment. I saw a pair of grey foxes a few years ago, and the nature center tells me there are also a few red foxes.

And many days, you see nothing.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 12:33 am
Besides various normal European birds, we see now very often wild geese around here.

Then about five squirrels (the brown ones, not those grey 'tree rats') visit our backyard/garden regularily in the morning (actually now, two of them).

Rabbits from the park come here, too. And martens and weasels.

The most surpring visitor (but comes very rarely) is an eagle owl, while a little owl is 'living' soemwhere close to us.
(As are a couple of bats, but those aren't to seen now in winter.)
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 12:42 am
Walter wrote:
Rabbits from the park come here, too. And martens and weasels.


Do you actually see these martens and weasels, Walter? I can't speak for martens, since I have none in this area (to the best of my knowledge), but weasels are around and they are generally very adept at hiding from human eyes. I've only seen a few over the years.

Maybe those damn German weasels are a little bolder.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 12:55 am
Weasels are to be seen, martens only when and what they left.
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 01:00 am
In the backyard last night:
http://www.anhs.com.au/images/whitelipped_2891.jpg

Building a nest under the balcony:
http://www.futureofcairns.net/cs/Resources/Articles/2005-06-13_Sunbirds/2005-06-13_Sunbird1.jpg

Eating our bananas:
http://www.neseabirds.com/Australia/art/KATfruitbatone.jpg

Making a heck of a lot of noise in two of our fruiting trees:
http://www.interlog.com/~wwhite/gifs/imgqau08.jpg
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 01:31 am
Dunno where to start - Castle Timber is smack in the middle of Boonieville - well, actually Timberland. Being as this is farm and forrest land, miles from any town, we've got critters.

Lemme see ... I'll try to run through the birds to start with - but I know I gonna miss a few. I hope none of 'em are reading this. Anyhow, here goes.

A nesting pair of Baldies lives in huge nest up in a dead oak that sorta sits apart from the rest of the trees, kinda edged out just a bit in a tongue of meadow that tops an otherwise tree-covered ridge out back - mebbe a little less than a mile from the house. Mostly see 'em patroling the fields, way, way up, early in the morning and again toward late afternoon. A dive to a catch really is something to see, and in February or so, the he and she get amorous, and put on an amazing display, whirling and diving at one another and locking together and tumbling almost to the ground to break apart and heave themselves back toward the clouds at the last minute, their wings litterally beating the air ... and they do it again and again and again. Way cool.

Out in the front yard, sorta overseeing the orchard from early spring untill around first snow, there's a pair of kestrels - little bitty hawks - that live in what many years ago was a martin house ... its pretty ramshackle now, but the kestrels keep coming back to it, so it stays as it is. One of the big old cottonwoods is home to a huge grey owl, and a whole buncha bats - who hang out daytimes in mosta the other big trees too.

Several types of hawks live here or real nearby, and not too far away, by the bridge, there's a pair of osprey. The Osprey family and the Baldy family don't get along real well; a baldy would much rather steal a fish in mid air from an osprey than catch one for itself. The osprey will get real vocal, but the baldy will get the fish.

Lotsa songbirds - the goldfinches have turned brown mostly,just a faint yellow stain o a bird here or there, and of course its been months since there've been any hummingbirds, but in summer they swarm their feeders like mosquitos at a picnic. Sparrows aplenty, and wrens, and chickadees, and the outbuildings hyave just given up their swallows - they'll be back in the spring. Also out back there are a couple big martin houses; the martins hve left for the season, but there are tons of 'em spring through early autum.

Jays and a couple cardinals stop by once in a while, and some waxwings, but I'm pretty sure they don't live here. Summers there are orioles and redwinged blackbirds and bluebirds - we have a whole fenceline of bluebird houses, one atop every other pole, a couple dozen in all, and a pair of sandhill cranes have a year-to-year nest down in the seep that runs along the edge of the Northwest 40.

Down the road a bit, there's an old maple tree that's become the winter home of a Northern Spotted Owl, which is a pretty big deal among the local bird brains; this is way south of that critter's normal range, but this one's back for its third winter. Not a very big bird, but one with a lotta fans - folks check out that maple all the time, trying to get a glimpse.

A couple different flocks of wild turkey live in the area ... not right here on our land, but real nearby, and they regularly cross our land. Got a big kick one afternoon this summer watching a scrappy little banty rooster trying to impress a gaggle of turkey hens that wandered into our yard - that really was comical. Turkeys is noisy critters, too - hear 'em all the time. And if a whole flock of 'em get spooked and take to the air at the same time, there's a helluva racket - really gets The Puppies excited.

And geese, of course, and several kinds of ducks. Saw a swan pair a couple years ago in the wetland across from the church, but they don't seem to have come back.

Oh, yeah ... pigeons and doves, and crows the size of respectable housedogs.

Well, thats prolly about it for feather critters - at least all I can think of for the moment. This was fun; I'll think some about the furry four-footed ones and get back to you.
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username
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 02:15 am
Jespah, there's a lot in Cambridge, smack in the heart of the city. I regularly see possum, raccoons, and skunks (now Pepe LePeau had those two neat white stripes running down his back, but the ones here have big white swirls on their backs--kinda like the weather satellite pictures of hurricanes actually--any skunk experts know if all real skunks are like that, or if this is some New England variant). Foxes have trotted by Lesley College. Once saw a racoon come strolling out of Adams House at Harvard, cross JFK, and go ambling up the front sidewalk of the Kennedy School--always wondered if Harvard had granted him tenure. And there are coyotes in Belmont and Winchester--ex-girlfriend hears them howling regularly in Winchester.

Hingehead, love those birds. Has anyone seen the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" about flocks of wild conures (small parrots) that have escaped and turned wild and produced several generations of babies in the trees in the hills of San Francisco. Great movie.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 07:39 am
Neat neat neat, I am lovin' this. Hey, username, you wanna come to a gathering o the 14th? We're gonna be in Fresh Pond, at Jasper White's Summer Shack. I forget the time, some time after work.

Anyway, back to el topico.

Last summer, I watched a Canadian geese family raise their young. I think they had four (five?) goslings. Started off acid green, then became kinda brown, then eventually got the usual markings. I know they are pest animals but it was cool to watch the process. They lived right about where I saw the boinging deer a few nights ago. For Mass. natives, it was the exit ramp (it cloverleafs around) from Southbound Rte. 128 to Eastbound Rte. 2.

Our first dog went a little nuts (egad, it's about 10 years ago now) and we noticed he'd picked up a garter snake. Very small, very skinny and green.

Oh, and bats. We've had 'em in the house (no, not the belfry Smile). Can always tell the difference between bats and birds flying as bats are a lot more erratic.

I live near Chandler Pond, and we've seen swans there, along with mallards and a few loons (no, not our neighbors). Plus there are white ducks and a few other species of duck. They might be wood ducks, I'm not sure. Plus we see seagulls and pigeons, when our neighbors were getting their roof done a few years ago, that disturbed a huge informal dovecote and we ended up with Pigeon City, USA on our roof. They were actually fine (we just parked in front to avoid the guano problem), it's kinda comforting to hear them cooing.

Plus there's the mockingbird. We see him every year (so I imagine we've seen a few generations over the years), boinging on top of the chimney across the street. He just does his little song (he imitates a car alarm), then hops up a few feet in the air and lands back on the chimney, chirps a few random notes, then imitates the car alarm again. I guess the lady mockingbirds are fascinated.

I adore hearing about all of this. Gorgeous pics, hingehead! :-D
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 09:29 am
First the furry census which has changed dramatically in the last sixteen years. People move in and the discriminating wild life moves on.

The first to go was the bobcat. I saw her once, at dusk, tip-toeing along a fallen log, probably in pursuit of dinner. I heard her twice--and the scream of a bobcat is an eerie sound.

We've had several bears over the years: Wunderbar, Big Mama, Big Ears (who was particularly fond of humming bird nectar). All of them were tolerant of chained and barking dogs. There were no bears last summer. People move in and the wildlife moves on.

I saw a weasel running along a log, pursuing a chipmunk. We have lots of chipmunks, all of whom are viciously territorial and inclined to squabble about the trickle-down effect under the bird feeders. Gray squirrels are common, red squirrels less so.

Jerusalem artichokes are almost impossible to kill, but if a determined groundhog of gourmet tastes strips every leaf from the artichoke stalks, the plants will die.

I've smelled more skunks than I've seen, but I've seen a few skunks and a few racoons. We have lots of white footed mice (the kind that carry Lyme disease) and lots of voles, aka meadow mice.

Two rabbits have raided the clover in the lawn, but they vanished in about six weeks. I've never seen a coyote, but I've heard them. When the wind is right they will sing against the fire siren and I've heard them insulting a husky pack on the next mountain side. The husky pack returns equally tough talk.

In the summer the brown bats have learned to turn on the motion sensor lights, the better to harvest dinner-on-the-wing.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 09:33 am
I'm sure the brown bats make for a flashy display, with the motion sensor lights. I love seeing animal intelligence in action like that. They figured out what was happening, that it was a good thing, and how to repeat it. Amazing.
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 09:30 pm
Has anyone noticed that when (if) you mow the lawn some birds follow you around picking at exposed crickets and such? In Canberra it was Magpies and Peewees (magpie larks). But in Cairns it's Willie Wagtails...
http://www.aviceda.org/abid/images/data/1121766308.jpg
... as soon as you start up the mower they come down for a look and will come to within few feet of you. Don't tell me animals are just bundles of instincts and tropisms - they learn new tricks all by themselves.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 09:36 pm
Here its the swallows that take most advantage of the buffet served up by the lawnmower. Soon as I back the tractor outta the shed, they're swarming impatiently, swooping, diving, circling, and all the while chirping and screeching at me to hurry up and set the table Laughing
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Dec, 2005 11:13 pm
In these parts you can tell the real organic farms by whether or not the robins follow the plowing in the spring.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Dec, 2005 09:16 am
Smile

We don't really have anyone following the lawnmower, but every Spring the skunks come out and de-grub-ify the lawn. They turn over the soil to get their goodies, and of course that means that our grass and clover grow better. Plus we get lots and lots of violets.

Next door, there used to be 2 large shrubs, as in about 7 feet high, and the one nearer to use had a sparrow family living in it. We'd see them swoop in there with their catches, for the little ones, who were well-hidden. But the shrubs died so our neighbor cut 'em down. I am guessing the Sparrow Family Singers are living elsewhere, maybe in one of the adjoining back yards. They're gone to their winter chalet, I think, but they'll be back.
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