OK, so when we are in the mountains, I get up very early every morning so that I can watch the sunrise. I love to hear (sometimes see) the marauding Wild Turkeys AND any other wild life passing through that early (deer, moose, coyote, bull frogs, various seed eating birds, etc.)
I sit on the porch swing under a glass roof so I can be there in any weather. This event starts my days with a smile.
This is what I see from my protected seat.
So, I’m all bundled up yesterday, mug of hot coffee warming my hands and I hear a scuffling sound over the edge, just past the rapidly growing daffodils. I get up to investigate and hear it what I see.
Uh oh. I realize now what the scuffling sound was. A Squirrel, our primary nemesis here (other than the Flickers that are relentlessly eating our HOUSE!) has somehow gotten the lid off the container.
Though we have finally found a system using Slinky’s to keep him off the bird feeders, STILL he finds this way to torment James, who really wants to resort to the BB Gun. So far, I won’t let him.
I chase him off before J. can get his weapon, and bring the seed container up to the porch where we have collected a pile of stuff to take to Goodwill. Now the seed is right next to me, within arm’s reach should our invader dare to approach!
Next, I see the squirrel return to the place where the container had been…and he is completely stumped. He knows it was right there just minutes before. He sniffs around frantically and this next thing, I wish I had thought to video tape. He stops, slowly turns and points his angry beady little eyes directly at ME, up on the porch. We stay frozen, in this stand off for long seconds! That GLARE!! (You will never convince me that rodents can’t THINK.)
The squirrel scampers off, disgusted, and after a quick trip inside for more coffee, I return to sitting on my swing, peaceful morning again, at last.
But no, I come back outside to this!!!
In the short time it took me to go inside, this little guy (and several members of his clan) have shown up and eaten a HOLE in the side of the seed container. It is now leaking birdseed for them to chow down on!!!
The irritation came first but then I could not prevent the huge SMILE!
I’ve been working on both a newsletter to my neighbors and a post lately about how lucky I am to have so much wildlife right here in my neighborhood. I live on a long-ish dead end street right in the middle of one of Washington State’s wealthiest cities. It’s one of the few streets left where you can still see traces of the days when this area was considered “out in the country”. In my time living here (almost 45 years now) my little lane has gone from a small handful of older houses with horse acreage, to 25 homes, many qualifying as McMansions (homes with 5,000 plus square footage, selling for well over $1,000,000).
When I saw Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge for this week,
I decided to combine my two projects with her challenge.
So here is the letter I sent out to my neighbors.
A letter from your self-appointed S.E. 7th Street Wild Life reporter and Game Warden.
A few months back, I was pretty low, with all the dark hours and gray skies. I didn’t even want to go for one of my short but usually uplifting walks. It was so dismal out, for so many days in a row, I think I was developing some serious empathy for my clients over the years who have suffered from SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder!)
But I made myself go out there anyway.
And a few steps into my climb up the hill (yes, for me, it is a climb) I heard them!
Our SE 7th Street Bald Eagles are back!
Last year they graced us with many regular visits, perched up high on branches that seemed way too skinny to hold their heft. On most days, they could be found facing the sunrise, and later the sunset, either in the trees in my front yard, or up the street to the East across from the Mathes house.
As I hiked up the street on this gloomy day, head tilted back at a neck-killing angle, I saw them. They were circling, very low, right above the treetops, probably hunting for breakfast. Then they landed, and stayed for a long time.
I took this sighting very personally…like they had stopped by just to cheer me up.
I was so uplifted I wanted to write to the whole street to share about my encounter.
That made me remember that I actually used to do that a lot…write to the whole SE 7th Street list. It started with simple reporting of Coyote sightings.
Then one day, I witnessed something so amazing, I wrote a whole article about it.
Early one morning, I saw a Murder of Crows take down a Bald Eagle, on the busy road right at the top of our street. I’m sure the Eagle had gone after a crow’s nest or something but the Crow Call went out and a huge crowd of them came. Some Seagulls even stopped by to join in on the attack.
The event stopped traffic. Well, I guess I kind of stopped the traffic, pulling my car sideways across the street to prevent massive bird death. A cop happened along, saw immediately what was happening and helped chase the birds away and get the traffic moving again. I spent hours afterwards watching, and photographing, the escaped but clearly injured Bald Eagle up in a tree across the street from the Burdick house.
Soon after this event, I proclaimed myself the Game Warden and Wild Life Reporter for our street. I sent out a “newsletter” article called Urban Bird Gangs.
I had so much fun writing up the story, it is in part what inspired me to start a Blog. Now, I write about my animal adventures right here in our neighborhood all the time. Please feel free to check it out, although I do write about a lot of other things too. Some inane, and some harsh. Lots of animal stories; beautiful seed feeder birds, marauding deer, our neighborhood cats, the brazen Coyote pack (looking for our cats), and many Hummingbird shots. You may even find photos of beautiful plants, trees and flowers from your own yards.
Back to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I think I’m cured now. Especially in the last couple of weeks. It appears, we are being chosen again, by a beautiful pair of Bald Eagles. Maybe the same ones who roosted last summer, sunrise and sunset, in the biggest tree in front-yard (or as James calls it, “frun-chard”.) They seemed to be hanging out around 10:30 AM some mornings, on the more gray, windy days. Not great photos with only my phone but two mornings ago, that really cold, crisp, clear day, they were posing for the local paparazzi, so I ran for my real camera. So glad I did.
What a beautiful, majestic bird!
Again, please feel free to stop by the Blog and tell me what you think!!
Love our street!!
Kathie (your oldest resident…well, longest anyway)
So that was my letter to my wonderful neighbors but for Cee’s Challenge, I want to add this HUGE slide show. (Wish I knew how to do music for it too.)
Many of us have pets who are or have been Beloved…but my experience is there is usually this one who works his or her way deep into our soul, our memory, and our “inner child”.
I love animals…most all of ’em. I had a favorite dog and a wonderful snake and as a kid, even a pair of rats, one black and one white. I used to smuggle those rats to elementary school inside my shirt! I have even had BUGS…Giant Australian Leaf Bugs that I care deeply about. My very first pet was a DUCK, that at 7 years old, I house-broke, because I didn’t know you couldn’t. (read about Fluffy here)
and those bugs, just go to my blog (and search for Bugs. I post about them more than most anything…https://chosenperspectives.com/
Though I am fairly allergic to them, I’ve almost always had cats…maybe 15 of them over the years.
But there is this one rascal, Zorro, that is my Beloved heart animal, above all the others, my inseparable companion of 17 years now. Named for the “Z” he slashed in the back of my hand the day I got him (at 5 or 6 weeks old). I’d show you a photo of my hand now but the original “Z” has been embellished with countless slashes over these years together…some from anger but mostly from play. It’s more like an abstract pencil drawing these days.
I know everyone has a favorite pet even if we don’t want to admit playing favorites. I have three cats right now and I wouldn’t want Phineas the Terrorist or Lucy, the Wonder Cat to be jealous of my Zorro, the Grey Blade.
His story is unfortunately, not unheard of. He was left in a box with 5 littermates at the back door of a county animal “pound” at the beginning of a three day weekend. By the time the box was discovered, all had died but my Zorro. Tiny “Z” was put in the cages in the lobby of this Animal Shelter where all the “last chance” animals were displayed…last chance before death!!
Apparently, he did not stop yowling for the three days they had him and the folks at the front desk were driven to distraction by his inconceivable volume.
We arrived literally in the nick of time. They were so relieved, they all cheered.
The short version of the back story here is that about 2 years before, I had lost all three of my long-time pets (an 11 year old cat, a wonderful 16 year old purebred German Shepherd, and an amazing, impossible 23 year old cat) all within two months of each other.
Boom, boom, boom…all gone!
Oh and in this same 2 years, my then husband had blown up our marriage as well as my therapy practice, AND there had been 11 deaths in and close to my family…all culminating in the 9/11 tragedy our country suffered. I was a hot, depressed mess!!!
My two very best friends did a Love Intervention with me for which I will be eternally grateful.
They sat me down and said “OK, that’s long enough. We like you better when you have pets.” And then they drove me to the pound for a cat and said “Pick one…NOW.”
I knew immediately it was that screaming gray and white kitten hanging by all fours on the screened in kennel.
I have already confessed many times in previous animal posts that I am the Queen of Anthropomorphism, but that kitten knew me instantly. In our 17 years together, he has never screamed like that again. Oh, we have our regular conversations. He’s very talkative. But only with me. I’m the only one he has ever trusted. If you are not me, you must tread very lightly in his presence. No reaching out your friendly hand for a sniff or a pet. Nope. You’ll be branded, just like me.
Though he will tolerate almost any handling from me, he has never been a lap cat, no snuggling except on my feet at night…oh, and if I say “Zorro, wanna take a nap with me?”, he will come running and assume his position in out napping spoon, his back pushed into my curled-up tummy. And a wonderful, weird addition to our relationship is I have NEVER been even slightly allergic to him. No itching, no asthma, nothing. I tell people he is my first intimate relationship with a cat.
He will look straight into my eyes for long moments and we will “talk”.
He is protective of the other cats we have, both joining our family as tiny kittens. If Zorro thinks you are hurting them, he will lunge at you like a tiger, growling, teeth bared, and claws out. He’ll draw your blood without batting an eye.
And if Phineas, who is our escape artist, finds a way out of our house, Zorro will run to me just like Lassie, (Timmy has fallen down the well!!) proclaiming danger, and will lead me right to the open door or window. (Our cats are always indoor cats as we have packs of coyotes running through our streets!)
Zorro has a much longer story than this, but I want to get this post done. Just think of him as the Sean Connery of cats…a real warrior in his day and still gorgeous to the end.
Zorro has advanced kidney disease and will most likely be moving on soon. We spend a lot of time together these days. I know we are getting close to the end because he wants to be on my lap whenever I sit down. He is awkward at it, having never practiced this kind of connection before now, but I love it.
I love him. My beloved best pal for so many years….