Wildlife of our back yard

We own almost a quarter of an acre. The yard is long and lean, like a stretched out domino piece or a stick of gum, maybe. The back yard is the largest portion of our lot, yet the dog only cares about the perimeter. Who cares if he could frolic around the square footage of the yard? He only wants to admire the places he can’t get to because of that fence. Oh, that fence, which made purchasing this house so much easier. Seriously, I love that we didn’t have to put one up, although, I think we’re eventually going to have to make it more private.

The powers that be are widening the road outside our neighborhood and thankfully, that includes replacing a bridge that rates a 3 out of 100 on safety. I’m not kidding, that’s what the current bridge rates, so I hold my breath when I cross is. Meanwhile, the right of way behind our back yard has water drainage issues, so they recently put in a new pipe, buried it, and covered it with hay. Two Sundays ago it snowed, and yesterday was over 70 degrees. I think the shake up of road construction, pipe installation, and dramatic weather change has made our back yard feel a bit more like a zoo.

So far, we have various small bird varieties, including the Cardinal couples. One couple appears to live to the yard right of ours, and the other on the left. The females of each couple do NOT get along. The Sunday it snowed, I watched them for a good 15 minutes, that’s how entertaining they were! The Left Cardinal Couple tried to fly in for some birdseed. The female of the Right Cardinal Couple dive bombed the Left Cardinal Female about 20 times in the course of the viewing. Every time, the Left Cardinal Female yielded to the Right Cardinal Female. The Right Cardinal Male always came as backup. The Left Cardinal Male kept flying away to check out other options. Any time the Left Cardinal Female had success in getting some seed, she chirped for her male to come on over, and he would. Shortly thereafter, the dive bombing began anew.

Hunter got into a fight with a cat through the fence on Valentine’s Day. The cat, whom we know to be called Caspar, sat curled up in a ball for 20 minutes as Hunter bounded back and forth, barking at the cat. I thought the cat would finally slink away, but, no. Instead, the cat reared up like a Kung Fu fighter and pummeled Hunter’s schnoz through the fence. Poor dog got cat swipes all over his face, plus the metal of the fence cut him a little bit. I was pretty mad about the whole thing, but now it’s kind of funny.

There’s a hawk – either a Cooper’s hawk or a young redtail, we’re not sure – who frequents our back yard. He was laying low the day the tornado came through. Well, it was a funnel cloud, but I did see it – first time I ever saw one – and he was a sign that it was not safe outside. Spooky. He still frequents our back yard. I think the hay-covered area is a goldmine of sorts for him.

One night last week, Hunter almost snagged an opossum by the tail. It was trying to enjoy some compost contents in the back corner of our yard, but Hunter interrupted. Josef said he jumped up as high as he could, but he was just a little off from getting the tail. I guess the opossum is lucky that playing dead didn’t involve falling off the fence and into the yard.

Last animal sighting was a bunny. Josef got this mack daddy flashlight that’s crazy huge and crazy bright. You could use it as a spotlight for a theatre, I swear. Hunter was going nuts one night at the back of the fence and surely enough, when I shined the flashlight (I am always scared it’s going to be a coyote setting Hunter off), it was a bunny hopping along, seemingly unfazed by Hunter’s threats through the fence.

Of course, we are in a pretty heavily wooded area, which I adore. Other neighbors have seen deer and owls. There’s a pond where turtles hang out that is on the nature trail. We’re really blessed to have our own nature show in the Big City!

I just wish I could stop dreaming about animals, though. I dreamed about hamsters, alligators, and, last night, an injured hawk that my father left in my care. It could even talk!


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