Critters I’ve Seen

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I try not to take anything for granted, but I see coyotes almost every day – there are at least 3 distinct groups that live around our place. We try our best to co-exist. In the 20 years we’ve been out here we’ve only ever shot one – she was very young and refused to keep her distance even when we were around.

Last year we had one raise a litter right by the road at the corner of our property. We often hear pups trying out their voices this time of year but last year was the first time I ever got to watch pups play.

One time we witnessed a coyote being driven out of a pack. It took most of the afternoon – he (I assume it was a male) kept trying to return to the group. For weeks afterwards we could hear him calling – his call was quite different from the usual singing and we often saw him at the edge of the bush.

coyoteThere are a few we recognize by sight – Bob, who has a problem with one of his front legs; The Rattail – he has no hair on his tail at all, and there’s a new one hanging around lately that worries me – he is unusually large – I suspect he may be a coy-dog (coyote/dog cross, which can be dangerous).

Both the coyotes and ‘our’ fox will come right up to the house (though the fox avoids the coyotes as they will kill him if they get the chance) – the fox will come in broad daylight whereas the coyotes usually only come that close at night. I can tell which is in the yard before I even look by the way Arrow barks.

With our view we get to see a lot of things. A few days ago I saw a deer walking very slowly across our hay field. She kept looking behind her and finally I noticed she had a fawn with her – barely taller than the grass. The doe would take a few steps and then wait while her little one caught up. Every now and then the baby would burst into a run and then mom could move faster because she could keep her eye on it. It is only the 3rd time I’ve seen such a young fawn. I came across one in the woods once when I was working at Butterfield Acres. It was about the size of a cat, lying in a tight ball and the only sign it was alive was that its nose would twitch now and then. I went back to see it about 4 times over the course of the day – I don’t think it moved once.

We’ve seen swans, badgers, porcupines, skunk, weasels (several species), muskrats, herds of over 100 deer; even saw elk just up the road once (this is not their normal range), but the animal that never fails to put a smile on my face is the moose. They live around here but we don’t see them very often. There is a cow with new twin calves around now. I don’t know how much territory they require or if they share space but I saw another cow moose (could have been the same one) a month or so ago wandering across the neighbour’s field with 2 yearling calves in tow. The calves were acting like two children – one would try to walk right behind mom, and the other would chase it away and then get behind mom himself whereupon the other would then try and get his ‘spot’ back. I could imagine them complaining to their mom (“Mom!!! He’s TOUCHING me! Make him stop! I was here first!”). Mom would look back at them every once in a while and then just drop her head a bit and keep walking. She did not look amused.

I can’t imagine how anyone can be unmoved (or uninterested). I’m also convinced that the typical urban tendency to insulate oneself from nature poses a greater danger to ourselves and the planet than we realize.

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