Wacky Wildlife Stories

When you live in the woods, you cannot help having encounters with wildlife. Some are intentional, such as enjoying the variety of birds that visit the birdfeeders. Some are unintentional, like the Red-tailed hawks who built their nest in a tree off the back corner of our yard. And some are downright unwanted, like the snake I found in the bedroom, the woodpeckers who drill holes in the siding, or the deer that nibble all the leaves from the shrubberies.

Here are a few of my favorite stories about local wildlife.

Chicken Scratch

chickenGranted, chickens aren’t typically considered wildlife, but even so, you don’t expect one to wander into your garage for a visit. This friendly hen hung around the neighborhood for a while. We don’t know what happened to her, but rumor has it she inspired the neighbors to take up chicken rearing.

SquirrelFall

Living in a house with many large windows, it is not uncommon to hear a thud as some bird accidentally smacks into the glass, so I only investigate the ones who make a particularly impressive thwacks. One day a particularly resounding thwack, followed by a thud, sent me to the window, afraid I would find a dead bird lying in the middle of the yard. Instead I found a squirrel spread-eagled in the grass. He must have fallen from a tree, landed on the roof, rolled to the edge and tumbled to the ground. As I contemplated this, the squirrel twitched, sat up, looked around to make sure nobody had seen him, and scampered to the nearest tree.

Moonbathers

raccoon at feeder

Who me? I wasn’t eating birdfood. I was moonbathing.

One early morning, my husband stepped out on the back deck and discovered a pair of raccoons greedily nibbling the suet at the birdfeeder. Instead of running away, the ‘coons gave him the eyes-averted look of a guilty dog and pretended they had merely been strolling past … no, wait, they were … soaking up the moonbeams. Right! They’d been moonbathing. They hadn’t even thought about eating suet. Honest.

Playing possum

One day while visiting relatives, my husband decided to take my aunt’s dog for a long walk through the fields. They rounded a bend and discovered an opossum standing in the middle of the path. Full of curiosity, the dog trotted forward for a closer look. My husband prepared for a snarling match, but as the dog came close, the possum stiffened, toppled sideways to the ground and lay still.  The dog snuffled the critter, then turned to give my husband a look that clearly said, “I think the poor thing just up and died. How strange.” When they passed the spot on their return trip, the deceased possum had mysteriously disappeared.

Comments

Wacky Wildlife Stories — 2 Comments

  1. One year we had repeated incidences of a cardinal banging into
    the window, being territorial, not by accident. We still occasionally
    have them thud into our windows. We’ve had a moonbather looking
    for sunflower seeds meant for the birds and have recently had
    an opossum making a daily early morning trek through our yard.
    It’s a whole other world out there! Always interesting to observe.

    • I remember several years of dealing with cardinals banging windows when I was a kid. I also remember years of my Dad fighting trashcan-raiding raccoons. Yep, there’s a lot more critters out there than we realize.