WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Ice and snow still covers our land. It snowed several inches overnight. But it’s warmer today. Above freezing for the first time in weeks. I believe this is the first day of the great melting. Everything is dripping.

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I opened my window. I was able to pull off the sheath of ice which has clung to the window frame for weeks. I looked below and saw that birds had gathered.

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This land is home for many creatures, humans being the only primate. Some years, a bobcat lived here. Those years, we had few small animals. Our local bobcats are about the size of a large house cat, but powerful for their size, with a voracious appetite for squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits.

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We have birds. Buntings, woodpeckers, chickadee, robins, cardinals, jays, crows, hawks, American eagles. Big red-winged hawks who like to chow down in our driveway. It isn’t a charming sight. I’m always grateful when the big birds leave and take their leftovers with them.

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Coyotes are always nearby, as are fishers, raccoon, and skunk. Opossum, snakes, chipmunk. Our greatly reduced squirrel and rabbit population hasn’t quite rebounded from several years of depredations by bobcats. The cats have moved on to other hunting grounds. I hope our squirrels and bunnies will be back.

I hear owls, though have never see them. There are deer in the woods. Garry sees them from time to time. I’ve caught glimpses, but never a clear view.

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This morning, the birds were camped out in the frosty forsythia hedge. It must provide something they can eat. While I watched, a dark furry shape slunk by. Fisher? Fishers have returned to the valley after having been hunted to near extinction. Now, they vie with human for space to hang out in the sun … and being rather bad-tempered and sharp-clawed, usually take the field. One of them takes over our back yard on warm summer days. He likes napping in the sunny areas and does not (apparently) want human company.

The birds are not afraid of the fisher. Their perches on the forsythia put them above the fisher. He cannot get them. He knows it. They know it. He moved on, hoping for an unwary chipmunk or a juicy rat. Pickings have been lean for prey and predator on this  land, this winter.

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I like our land as it is. We use a bit for the house, a bit more for two small yards, front and back, and a driveway. The rest of our acreage belongs to the wild things.


A Plot of Earth – You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?



Categories: Animals, birds, Blackstone Valley, Daily Prompt, Ecology, Home, Humor, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. I hope the squirrels return as well so that they have a chance to be photographed and appear on your blog! Every squirrel should be a star…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I miss my squirrels and rabbits. The bobcat moved on a couple of years ago, but there are a lot of fishers and coyotes to pick up the slack. We have more predators than prey. I’m betting we have rabbits and squirrels out there, but they are wary about being seen in the open, especially on the ground. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have feeders. The predators hide near the feeders, then eat the birds and squirrels. I’m not doing them a favor by setting them up to get eaten.

      Like

  2. Those birds, how do they do it? We had more snow and the cold is back.
    We lost a young 3 year old child in Toronto this week. He wandered out in a tea shirt, diaper and winter boots. He was staying with his grandparents and woke up at 4:00 am probably looking for his mom. They found him the next day frozen to death. It’s a heart breaking story.
    Leslie

    Like

    • I don’t have any idea how they survive with just feathers to keep them warm. I look at them and shiver, but apparently New England, with 8 feet of snow and until today, sub-zero temps, is warm and cozy compared to the arctic conditions they have “back home.” We are finally melting. I hope it’s a trend, not a one day aberration!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post and gorgeous pictures. I love your choice to leave the land as it is. You are lucky. We live in an apartment in the middle of the city, so no wild nature around us.

    Like

  4. Great photos. Now for other problems when it is warmer – water everywhere.

    Like

  5. Sounds wonderful, such a wide selection of animals. Many I don’t even know what they are. What is a fisher? – bird or fourlegged mammel? We also have many, but actually only see the birds. We have foxes, but they prowl at night and my son No. 2 told me that when he arrived home in the early morning hours the place was teaming with hedgehogs, although I have only ever seen one. I still enjoy every animal I see, especially as I grew up in a animal deserted place in the deep traffic of East London.

    Like

    • First, I’m pretty sure we have hedghogs too, but I’ve never seen one. Also gophers.

      Fishers are big weasels, a lot like minks. Same kind of very dense, heavy,beautiful fur. They hang around lakes and rivers, hence fishers, sometime fisher cats — but they aren’t cats. Weasels. They showed up in the neighborhood about 7 years ago and have been getting bolder every year since. None of the wildlife around here is the least bit afraid of us. Even the chipmunks mouth off at us. Cheeky little devils! They don’t run away. They stand up on their back legs and chitter at you, obviously telling you off. The bobcat used to hang around and finally took over the tepee. Scared the daylights out of me!

      I grew up in the city, too and the only wild creature (other than birds) I remember were tortoises which lived in the wooded areas. I’m sure there were other things. In Boston … I mean when we lived in downtown Boston in the middle of the busiest part of the city, a HUGE raccoon moved into our tiny little walled terrace and refused to leave. I wasn’t up for a showdown with anything that big which has teeth and claws and I never went back there. Soon, we moved to another neighborhood. It’s funny how some “wild” animals adapt very well to city life. Raccoon love trash cans. So do skunk. And coyotes are everywhere. Deer too. In some places, bears are showing up. Fortunately, not here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW ! this is exactly I wanted to convey. I might have not said it it with the finesse, your words and style of writing is class apart, but I too shared your views. I love my land the way it is. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing beautiful pics.

    Like

  7. Marilyn:

    FYI. The birds in your pictures are dark-eyed Juncos.

    Like

    • Thank you. I was going to get the book and start looking. I haven’t seen these birds around here much in the past, but this winter, we have a whole flock of them. Breeding ground changes? I watch birds and would have noticed these guys … Glad to have new birds on the back forty. Thanks again for the information.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not a bird guy (although I’ve got “Birdman of Alcatraz” dvr’d to watch again) but I’m amazed at those birds who’ve survived our winter of discontent. They’re out there in our backyard everyday, perched, playing and zipping around from snow mound to snow covered trees and back again. A counterpoint to our complaints about the weather? I must admit I don’t know what they are saying about our frozen tundra.

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        • As I learned today, some of those little birds actually come here because the weather is WORSE where they breed … like northern Canada. So they are probably enjoying the mild temperatures on our frozen tundra.

          Like

  8. Nice.
    My “Plan”. To make it completely self sufficient power wise, water wise – everything. I hate be dependent.
    Winter: I know you got bombarded down East. Here, we feared we would have another winter like last year – but it was pretty easy. Not much snow here right now. We can get periods here in winter where it is pretty well all gone. Extremes. One way or the other – back and forth – and can change very quickly. Not like in other places though – where winter comes and it’s cold and snow until Spring.
    Keep clicking.

    Like

    • I’d love being independent, but this land is not particularly suitable for anything much. Bad soil, rocky, very little topsoil. Not much sun can get through the trees and there are no steady winds in this area.

      Winter is not always this bad, though in recent years, it has been pretty brutal. At least it had the decency to start late! We had NO snow until the end of January … then we got like 8 feet in three weeks! But it’s melting today and if the temperatures remain up, the water will refill the aquifer and life will come back. I’m am optimistic!

      Liked by 1 person

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