I decided today to share some of the wildlife adventures from my backyard. I live in the middle of suburbia. You would not think that I have so much wildlife that frequents my yard. Yet I am an animal lover and so enjoy seeing them all. They know they are welcome here.
I will start with the birds. I love to bird watch. I have about 8 feeders in my yard along with a heated bird bath for the cooler months and a bird bath for the summer. All of the wildlife enjoy the heated bird bath. In the winter I have birds, squirrels, raccoons, deer and opossum all drinking from it. It gets empty every day sometimes twice a day. I have seen many migrating birds throughout the years. I look forward to the Indigo bunting and Red breasted grosbeaks each year. Of course I enjoy the year round birds such as cardinals, robins, downy, red headed woodpeckers, gold finch, sparrow and many others. I make sure during the cold months of the year they have plenty to eat.
The deer are always a presence in my yard. This winter has been especially plentiful. I have numerous groups that come through day and night. One of my favorites is a group of 5 or 6 does. There are 2 or 3 older does and 3 one year old does. One of the older does has been around for 6 or 7 years. She has a broken front leg which makes it look very painful for her to walk. Yet she can run and jump as well as the others. I call her Gimpy and she holds a special place in my heart. I always worry when I haven’t seen her in awhile. I set out some cracked corn during the colder months. It’s not much, but at least they have something to eat. Occasionally they will come and the corn is depleted. They often will just stand and stare at the house. I am easily able to walk out with the corn and fill the containers. The deer are often only 6-10 feet away. Once the warmer weather arrives, I stop giving them food as there is plenty of foliage for them to find. I look forward to seeing the new born fawns in the summer.
I also get a group of bucks that come through. They were plentiful during mating season. At times my yard looked like a wild kingdom as the bucks were rounding up the does. I had some spectacular bucks and even one that was quite unusual. The spectacular ones were large and had many points to their racks. The unusual one, had only 3 legs. I only saw him twice. He was completely missing one of his rear legs. I have no idea how he survived.
I also get a lot of red tailed fox. They have the most beautiful tail and run so swiftly. Yet, t hey freak me out a bit with the cats. I have been told that they do not prey on cats unless they are starving. I have even had them on my deck on two different occasions. The cats do not seem afraid, but it still worries me.
The coyotes are an entire different ball game. They have been living around a nature preserve close to my home for years. When food is scarce they wander into the neighborhoods looking for food. I have seen them many times since I have lived in this home. It is usually winter time when food is scarce, but I have seen them twice in the spring and once in the early fall. I hear reports from surrounding neighborhoods that the coyotes have killed small dogs. I worry they will corner my cats or catch them off guard.
I have had a pair of mallard ducks that have been coming each spring for 6 or more years. They show up each year in March and are gone by June. They come to eat bird seed or corn and also for a drink. Two years ago, they would try to “swim” in my small heated bird bath. It was so funny. I have never had them bring the ducklings. I know for sure spring is right around the corner when they show up.
Of course I have my share of raccoons, skunks and opossums. The raccoons can be relentless and have been on my deck more times than I can remember. They are always searching for food. I leave dry food out during the day and feed wet food morning and late afternoon. All food is picked up at night. Yet the raccoons can smell the food and frequently come up to check out the feeding stations, hoping to find a morsel. This winter I had one that must have been very cold. It ended up in the tent shelter inside one of the small rubbermaid containers. I had no idea it was there when I went out to feed. When I checked the cameras later, it had been there most of the night. It frightened Shadow and Stellar. I had a terrible time trying to get rid of it.
Last summer I had a baby opossum that came with its mother. They would search for food each night and drink from the water bowls. At that time, Hampton was living under the deck. I had a cat mat out for him that he would sleep or play on occasionally. The baby opossum thought it made a great bed and play area. I could watch it from the camera as it rolled and slept on this mat. Opossums are not very cute, but this baby was cute!
The skunks are out nightly from late spring until November. They have their babies in early spring and keep them hidden. Then in early summer, they bring the babies out. They are quite cute, but they sure do love to spray. The babies are always very trigger happy and like to practice spraying! I have to watch carefully during the warmer weather. A few years ago, I put my dog outside before bed and she was sprayed. It took months before the smell completely went away.
My ferals do so well with most of the wildlife. The raccoons seem to pester them, but the cats usually stand up and hiss and growl for the raccoons to leave. They get along well with a the opossum and have no issues with the deer. I try to tell all of the animals that they are welcome here as long as there is no fighting or hurting of others. This is a peaceful region.
Last year for Mother’s Day, my wonderful husband found a talented artist to paint a picture of me and the wildlife in my yard. It is entitled “Mother of My Backyard”. It contains some fof the wildlife that frequent my backyard. It is one of my treasured possessions.
To see more pictures of the wild life in my backyard you can visit my Flickr site. The link is to my section on wildlife.