Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom — Written July 9th
Sometimes it feels like I should be asking Stan what to do. Remember Stan? He was the one who was always elected to wade into the river and wrestle the giant Anaconda while Marlon Perkins narrated safely from the riverbank. Or do something with a charging rhino from a jeep speeding over the savannah while dodging termite mounds. I don’t know what he was paid but I bet it wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough.
Our wild animal sightings have been numerous lately. Bunny nests in the hay field, a painted turtle in the same field moved to the safety of the pond. A doe and her fawn in another hay field. The fawn must have been only hours old because it was still pretty wobbly when it moved itself from the middle of the field to the wooded edge and a new hiding spot.
Our latest brush with nature happened closer to the house. We found a dead chicken in the coop a few mornings ago. Tom said she’d been looking a bit peaked, we thought she’d either died and the other hens had pecked at her or they’d killed her. Chickens will eat anything. Next morning there were two more dead so now we’re thinking raccoon. They too, will eat anything.
We disposed of the hapless victims, moved the survivors feeder to the front door of the coop the little red hens are living in so they’d get the idea they were going to change addresses. Last night we integrated them, doing it at dusk lets them get used to each other while it’s too dark to fight. By this morning they’ll hopefully be reduced to a few minor squabbles over territory and not an all out war. It will help that the big chickens moved to the little chickens’ coop and not the other way around.
There’s now a trap set in the old coop, baited with an empty peanut butter jar we’ve saved for just such an occasion. Hopefully we can catch our chicken killer. I’m fine with the raccoons living here, they just can’t kill anything. This one forgot the rules.
But that’s not the end of the wildlife, after it was good and dark the coyotes started singing. It always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. One would sing, another would answer and a third join in. I don’t know how far away they actually were but it sounds like they’re serenading us right below the window. Cerin did his job and started barking so they’d know his sheep were protected. These coyotes we don’t try to trap or shoot, if you have coyotes that leave your sheep alone you leave them in place so sheep killing coyotes don’t fill the void you leave by taking the cooperative ones out.
And if that isn’t enough wildlife last night we were in the kitchen until after 10 making picnic food to take to the zoo today. We haven’t been in a few years and I love Binder Park Zoo, they have an African Savannah to walk through after you take the train, passports not required. You can feed the giraffes! A fiberglass dead zebra for the vultures to eat from, ostriches nesting below the overlook. The walk through Africa takes you into a village, a naturalist’s campsite complete with jeep, game wardens radio warning of poachers, a bird enclosure. You can find a leopard’s kill catched in a tree, an egg laying snake guarding her nest, bones of an elephant. After all that our wildlife ours will seem pretty tame.
What wildlife have you spotted lately? Candy