Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.
One of the books that (some of) our Baboons read for a recent Baboon Book Club (BBC) gathering was A Slender Thread by Diane Ackerman.
In it she told some of her experiences helping to staff a volunteer crisis hotline for humans, juxtaposed with her observations of the squirrel population in her yard and their crises. I am not, as she was, gathering material for National Geographic, but reading her work has changed me in this way: I’m allowing myself to sit for more than a few minutes to watch the wildlife just outside our back yard screen porch.
Last night was outstanding.
Our big yard must be heaven for the critters. Lined with hedges and a terraced “rock wall” (the chipmunk highway), it has plenty of trees for the squirrels, flowers for the bees and butterflies, and berries for the birds. The huge once-majestic box elder tree has lost all its major limbs now, and the last two are still sitting where they landed beneath it – these now provide another hiding place for the animals.
We have several resident cottontails that we see regularly for silflay (the morning/evening meal in the meadow, as told in Richard Adams’ Watership Down.
I’ve dubbed them Flopsy, Mopsy, and Mombunny, though of course I can’t tell the younger ones apart. I am watching them closely tonight, because earlier a hawk of some kind (Northern Harrier?) swooped toward a chipmunk who was hanging out by the herb garden.
There are now three robins hunting for stuff through the grass – no wait, four – no… five robins. A squirrel just shot across the lawn with a huge green (unhusked) walnut clamped in its jaws. Flopsy scampers around the fallen tree sections, with Mopsy close on his heels. Careful, Flopsy – that hole is where the beehive is, I think. Mombunny is now over by the rock wall on her hind legs, now nibbling on a wild rose twig, now heading for the back 40 – lippity lippity, not very fast.
It’s quieter – just two bunnies left feasting on the clover, Flopsy washing his face like a cat would. He only hops off when Mopsy gets too close, and then they’re racing around again.
Really getting dark now – if their ears didn’t twitch, I’d never see them in the grass. I leave them finally – all I can make out is two darker spots in the dark green of the “way back” lawn/meadow, where they’re probably contemplating how to get back into the veggie garden just beyond.
And that story is for another day
What has been the most critter friendly place you’ve lived?