Bri Manning

Wildlife Observations

June 15, 2018

I read a book about backyard wildlife observations earlier this year and it mentioned recording things as they happen. I haven’t been great about it, but┬ácouple notable events have happened since we moved in, so here are those stories.

We’ve heard coyotes howling throughout the year we’ve been in the house, but not for the last month or so. We’ve seen them once at night and once during the day. The night sighting was in the fall. The coyote made it all the way up to our patio. Rugby saw it before we did and started barking. Missy started pounding on the window while I grabbed a flashlight and yelled at it from the back door. It ran off into the pasture behind us, but you could still see its eyes gleaming from the flashlight, watching us. It was extra creepy. The daytime coyote sighting was less thrilling. The coyote just walked across our driveway early fall last year.

The next exciting case was two young deer bucks butting heads. It was around 6:30 in the morning in late fall last year. Missy was going to drop me off at the train station, so we were both outside and heard clacking. We looked over and saw two deer near our leach field having a tousle. They froze the moment they saw us and then dashed into the woods.

There has been the occasional fox, rabbit, beaver, and even muskrat sighting.

The most annoying story is that while we were refinishing the screened-in porch, a family of sparrows moved in. Even though we could seal everything up, the chicks are in there, so we won’t move the nest and close it up until that’s over with. Oh well. I did find out that in the United States it is illegal to move a native songbird’s nest.

Last weekend, a visitor at our house saw a barn owl perched up in a tree near our property. After the owl saw him, it flew off. This past Monday, we saw one again while walking Rugby near the reservoir. It too flew off when it saw we were looking at it.

Additionally, there have been a smattering of box turtles in the yard that Rugby seems to always find and bark at. Their defense mechanism is to defecate or urinate, so that isn’t the smartest move by him.

The final story is from this morning.

We have a hawk that likes to sit in front of our house on the power lines and dive into the field. We’ve seen him dive a couple times and catch things. What happened today was a first though. I was driving down the driveway to work and saw that the hawk was being harassed/attacked. It looked to me like the attackers were sparrows, but it was hard to make them out for sure. There were at least three of them in the attack. One even appeared to be riding on the hawks back/head area at two separate points. The hawk tried to fly to a new perch, but the little birds persisted until it finally flew out of sight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my phone out in time to get a picture or video.