This week, I have found myself watching a surprising amount of wildlife here in the city - even more than I typically noticed in our prior country home. Dog-sitting for my son has added a fun fillip of excitement to the activity.
Since I do much of my writing while ensconced in one of the comfortable chairs in our den, I often lift my head whenever I see a flash of motion outside our patio doors. Sometimes, it’s a cardinal flying by or a robin hopping around on our yard. (Note to self: ask daughter-in-law for suggestions on types and locations of bird feeders when they return from vacation.)
Yesterday, I noticed my son’s dog was staring intently out those same doors, and caught a glimpse of a young buck dodging evergreen branches to rest under our neighbor’s tree. (The dog, Atlas, really wanted to go out and make friends. I’m sure that wouldn’t have gone over well.) I also spotted our neighborhood doe with two cavorting fawns in that same yard. (It’s probably just as well Atlas was sleeping then.) Later, I saw a bigger buck lounging under a different evergreen by the front corner of our house. It was a little disconcerting to see a deer with a large 8-point rack staring calmly back at me from about twenty feet away.
I know there is other wildlife on our block, too. Something has been digging small holes in our yard. Since my mother suggested that it might be skunks looking for grubs, I plan to stay away from them. Far, far away. Fortunately, skunks are not something I see on my walks in the neighborhood. But I did have a close encounter last week with a red-tailed hawk who swooped by at waist level directly in front of me. I was surprised to see that, like the deer, he apparently has lost most of his fear of humans.
And of course, there are the bunnies and chipmunks. It’s a good thing my son’s dog looks but doesn’t race after them if he sees one on our walks. Atlas is a mastiff mix, and could probably drag me off my feet if he wasn’t such a sweet dog.
Is all of this wildlife normal in the city? I suppose it is. Having lived in the country my entire life before this, it’s a novel question for me to consider. For many other people, the animals are likely common, part of the background we tend to ignore. At any rate, I am almost looking forward to winter, when I’ll be able to see all of their tracks criss-crossing a smooth, snow-covered lawn. Who knew I’d see more wildlife in the city than I did in the country?
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