All posts tagged: wild life

Arizona

Rosemary, Rabbits and Rattlers

This story starts with a large clump of Rosemary. It has apparently become the home of an Arizona Cottontail Rabbit – or I think that is so, since I have seen it (the rabbit) bolt from there on a number of occasions. It is a very handsome rabbit and except for it’s fondness for the leaves of my Torch Glow Bougainvillea, it isn’t what I’d call a pest. I would have thought the Rabbit would eat the rosemary leaves too, but if it is so inclined, it isn’t making much of dent in the rapidly spreading foliage! Yesterday, a new dessert occupant appeared on our patio. At first, I thought it was another non-venomous gopher snake. We see them relatively frequently in our yard. However, when the snake finally decided to slither away, I realized that the pointed end of its 3 foot body was suspiciously rattler-like. I have to admit that I was startled when The Car Guy pointed out that the snake had chosen to come within 15 feet of where I was …

I Don’t Want Your Squirrels

Really – I don’t want your squirrels. They are your problem. If you don’t want them at your place, why do you think I want them at mine? Do you think you are being humane by transporting them out to the country to release them? Well, you aren’t. You’ve just signed their death certificate, but you are too ‘sensitive’ to kill them yourself. – You’ve removed the squirrel from a home range where it knew how to find food, water, shelter, and how to stay safe. – You may have trapped a mother squirrel – her babies will be left behind to die. – You’ve spread a non-native introduced animal into yet another habitat where it doesn’t belong. In the past week you’ve brought me two squirrels- a brown Eastern Grey Squirrel and a black Eastern Grey Squirrel. The magpies were quick to spot them, and followed them around and harassed them. With major predators, like hawks, owls, weasels, fox and coyotes, the squirrels will not likely last long. That’s good news for life in …

When the Deer Move Into my Alberta Yard

We spent part of our winter in the sunny south. We returned to our Alberta home yesterday and were met with the carnage that happens when white-tailed deer move into a yard. I beg your pardon, But I am eating up your garden. – The White-tailed Deer – They had eaten all the tulip and grape hyacinth shoots, the top two feet of the raspberry canes, most of a honeysuckle bush and a cedar shrub. There may have been other plants that were up, but they became deer fodder too. The deer dug up and ate many of the bulbs and shortened the willow hedge by a foot or so. Their sharp little hooves chopped, diced and trampled most of the flower beds. The sole survivors were the Daffodils. This specimen was nibbled on just once, then the deer left it alone. This is the first time in twenty three years that the deer have caused this much damage. Mostly they stay on their side of the fence. Sometimes a few juveniles will enter the …

Moose Tracks in my Alberta Yard

This past winter a new set of tracks appeared on the edge of our woods – Moose. These tracks were made by several moose, likely traveling together. Exciting, but moose can be very dangerous during certain times of the year. One of them has already challenged a car on the road out front, I hear. I’m not too concerned about my personal safely, however. I have an early warning system – the chatty birds – Magpies. I’m not the only creature they harass! Owls, deer, coyotes, crows, fox, skunks – nothing slinks through these woods without being vocally assaulted by the magpies. All I have to do is listen carefully and I’ll know in advance if there is something I should be aware of. Just how big is a moose?  This is a close up shot of one of the tracks in the snow. The two little holes on the right side of the track are left by the animals dew claws which are two small extra toes that are situated a bit higher up …

Musings about Moose in my Alberta Yard

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing ‘Embraceable You’ in spats. – Woody Allen – If I was asked to describe typical moose habitat, I would NOT say it was where I live – a prairie landscape dotted with a few stands of aspen and a small body of water that can  hardly be called a lake; farm land and various size acreages; a city of 40,000 people just a mile away, poised to swallow us up. No, I don’t think of this as moose country, yet every so often a moose or two or three trot past my back yard. They are not there by accident. They are our neighbours. Right across the road from our house is the hay field where the hawk kids hung out this fall. A few mornings ago we spotted the moose family grazing  there. There were five of them all together, slowly mowing the pasture in the same manner as a herd …

Wild Animal Control – Please Put on Your Scary Face

It is a testament to the adaptability of Wild Mammals that more and more of them are making their homes in Urban Areas. The city nearest to us has a large and vigorous population of the same four legged animals that wander here in the country – deer, coyotes and skunks. The city also has animals that have not normally lived in our woods – racoons, rabbits (both wild and feral domestic) and an imported species of squirrel. The rabbits and squirrels have recently arrived in our neighbourhood, thanks to those kindly city folk who trapped and transported them. I hope the native predators are enjoying this new menu item. With any luck the imported animals will disappear from our area again. While we are happy to share our rural landscape with all of nature’s citizens, we are also protective of the fenced area that is off limits to any animal that eats my vegetables or flowers. While some people will say this is selfish of me, in this part of the world most people …

Wild Life Stories from the Pond – The Elusive Moose

The Pond (and I am being generous in calling it that, because it is really just a Prairie Pothole fed by melting snow and summer rain) has seen lots of activity for the past few weeks. . The biggest excitement this morning was the elusive Moose. The farmers around here often talk about seeing moose, but I only saw one once as it thundered through the pond and disappeared into the woods. But today the moose was just outside my fence, and though clearly in a hurry, he paused and looked my way. I think a moose has better eyesight than I thought, because I was still in the house.  I took my first picture, hoping the window wasn’t too dirty. Then I quietly stepped out onto the deck. I got one more photo of The Moose on a Mission before he disappeared into the woods. I was not about to follow him. To put the size of this moose into perspective, it is standing right next to a four foot tall chain link fence. …

Some Canadian Artists and Craftsmen

In order of descending stardom – here are some excellent Canadian Artists and Craftsmen: For Better or For Worse There are a few comic strips I have followed regularly for years and years. Some people turn to Self-Help Books for advice – I’ve always looked to the Funnies. One of these is For Better or Worse by Canadian Lynn Johnston. The strip started in 1979, and Lynn used the unusual format of letting her characters age. I haven’t checked in with this comic for a few years, so was surprised to discover that Lynn has gone into semi-retirement. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – she is a bit older than I am… She does have a website and it keeps the characters and story lines alive for a new generation to enjoy. I was saddened by the news that Lynn, and her real life husband Rod, have divorced. When a marriage survives all those years of raising children, it should have a happy ever after, yes? Yarn Harlot One blog that I follow …

The Browser War – Keeping the Deer Out

We’re being attacked by a group of cunning Browsers. Yes, we are being invaded by a herd of White Tail Deer. We have a fenced area behind our house. It is about half an acre in size, and  I try to grow vegetables, ornamental trees and flowers. For many years, the White Tail Deer respected the fence, with only the occasional delinquent crossing into My Space to feast on the tulips in the spring, or the garden in the summer (beans are their first choice).  Then, this winter, they decided that My Space is their space, and they have started to camp out in the backyard. They are browsing everything in sight. They show no timidness, venturing right up onto the patio on many occasions. When I fly out the door and bear down on them like a crazed Banshee (the stunningly beautiful woman, not the ugly, frightening hag), the deer cast me a glance that says, “I dare you.” Which causes me to pause for a moment, and wonder what would happen if he/she …

bunched concerned crowd

Rabbit and Cat Be Gone – Don’t Dump Your Pets in the Country

A few weeks ago, a rabbit moved into the fenced area of our property. The fence is of the sturdy chain link variety, about 4 feet high. It was erected by the previous owners to keep their dogs from being coyote bait. The fence serves no practical purpose for me because I have no dogs, and cats scale it without difficulty. The white tail deer sail over it with impunity. Crows and magpies fly over it, as do red lily beetles. Weed seeds fly through the fence, as do mosquitoes and the ever present wind. And, apparently jackrabbits crawl under it. It is really a useless fence – though not entirely useless – it keeps the coyotes out. And that is why the jackrabbit (actually a hare) enjoyed several weeks of unabated eating before I realized what was going on. We have never had jackrabbits in our neck of the woods (well, prairies) before. At least, not in the past 19 years. Our urban neighbours to the south have at least one on each street corner, however. …