Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Living a Wild Life

One of the most interesting aspects of living in a semi-rural environment is the amazing variety of birds and animals we see on a regular basis. Readers of this blog have been treated to photos of Walter, a rabbit who makes daily visits to the lawn in front of the studio and the garden shed. Another featured visitor was a pig (owner unknown) who wandered in one afternoon, spent a few days grazing on the hostas, then moved on to greener pastures. In years past we've been a destination for stray cows, and once we were even visited by a bear.

Rabbits and pigs and cows and bears, oh my! But that's not all we've got living here. Lately, two species have been foremost in the Edwards household's ongoing critter saga:

Where the deer and the antelope play...

Well, actually, we don't have antelope (yet), but we do have deer. Lots of them. The deer seem to know they're perfectly safe here and have adopted a rather casual attitude toward us as we come and go and move about the property. Most of the time they just eye us when we encounter them. If they do flee, they never run far. They've become so laid back that last week, our friend Kathy had to wait patiently for a group of them to vacate the driveway before she could proceed on to our house.

One deer seems to have developed a penchant for playing with our driveway alarm. He strolls back and forth in front of it and listens for the corresponding very loud chime it makes inside the house. It's clear he thoroughly enjoys this novel form of entertainment. The only problem is, he frequently likes to play Activate the Driveway Alarm around 5 in the morning. Let's just say that until he tires of this game there will be no sleeping late around here.

Meet the flockers...

The past few years we've been playing host to increasing numbers of wild turkeys. At one point this spring we had a flock of at least two dozen of them, including several huge toms who put on quite a show lining up like soldiers and simultaneously "fanning" their impressive tail feathers.

Wild turkeys make their home in our yard
At this time, all but three of the flock have dispersed. The remaining three -- two adults and a juvenile we've dubbed "Baby Huey" -- spend much of their time hanging out around our bird feeder and bird bath. Baby Huey is growing fast. At the rate he's been polishing off bird seed he won't be a baby much longer.

So far the trio has somehow managed to evade coyotes and other predators and appear to be enjoying an idyllic existence. They come running when they hear the clanging of the lid on the bird seed can, and they roost high in the surrounding trees at night. One morning, I looked out the window to see one strutting around on the deck, inspecting the herbs we grow in pots. They've made themselves right at home.

Living with wild critters is always interesting and never dull. I'm not a painter of wildlife, but if I were, I'd never run out of subject matter. Sometimes having wildlife in such close proximity causes problems but none have ever been significant enough to make me want to move to an urban highrise. I can't imagine what my life would be like without creatures like these in it. They fill me with awe, make me smile, and never fail to intrigue me. When the news is filled with reports of senseless violence, political corruption and other depressing topics, I think of all the good things that Nature blesses us with, including the birds and animals I see each day. Thanks to them and the joys of living on this beautiful piece of earth we share, my own life is very good indeed.

Text and image ©2014 Lynn Edwards

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