This morning two adult deer were in my side yard as I looked out the kitchen window while making coffee. Last week, they had a visit in my woodsy backyard. This may not sound strange, but I live in the suburbs, not the country. Since we moved back in the late 1990s, these deer, usually between nine and fifteen in number, have roamed an area referred to as Southpark. As more houses have gone up, the deer have fewer places to go. More often, I see them on one of the greenway walking trails, yet they do still venture into neighborhoods.
Not to be outdone, we also have three barred owls that come for visit about twice a month. Their frequency of visitation is directly related to whether we spotted rabbits or chipmunks the days before. The many squirrels we have are too fast for them. The other day, only one of the owls was sitting in a Crepe Myrtle tree out this same side window. Since we have bird feeders over there, a number of smaller birds swooped down and pecked at the owl driving the annoyed creature off. Owls do fancy the occasional bird, but these folks decided not to be reactive.
We do see red-tailed hawks with about the same frequency as the owls, again related to our little rabbit and chipmunk friends. But, in addition to the birds coming to feed, we also see occasional brown snakes, turtles, and a rare opossum or two. Some of our neighbors have seen copperheads, but we have not primarily due to the number of squirrels. I read once that squirrels have a way of making snakes uncomfortable or even nervous. I think it relates to them making themselves seem larger and emitting a nervous wave of energy. But, do not quote me on that.
The other day, we had a large fox sunning in the grassy part of our backyard. He may have come before, but when we had our dog, who passed a few months ago, he would chase something like that off. That may also be the reason for the increased deer sightings. While we have not seen one, we have seen on neighborhood sites that some coyotes are wandering around. As we humans build further out into the forests, we uproot more of these kinds of animals. As for Mr. Fox, he decided to move on when we paid more attention to him.
My worst story, though, is when we heard what turned out to be an owl and an opossum fighting outside our bedroom window. We did not know the results of said battle, until about three weeks later, a smell permeated from beneath our deck. The opossum lost the battle and crawled under our deck to escape the owl who had fatally wounded it. Learning that it would take $1,000 and a day or two for animal control to get out to our house, I crawled under the house with long garden gloves and a pre-pandemic mask equipped with a hoe and a trash bag. Nasty does not define the situation very well.
My wife was happy for the removal, but she asked why I used her best gardening gloves? I can assure you the creature was not just “playing ‘possum.” I think I tripled bagged it and threw some moth balls in as well. Yuck.
So, this the end of my episode on Animal Kingdom, suburban version. What are some of your stories?