Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Owls, Otters, and Other Animals Outside my Window

My suburban view.

My backyard is a park. Actually my backyard is a small strip of poorly maintained grass, but on the other side of that is a park. There's a small creek, it's too shallow for me to worry about the kids drowning in but just right to attract all sorts of animals. There's some grassland... maybe it's called wetlands... I'm not sure, and a wooded area. This backyard is the reason why we bought our house. When we bitch about not having enough room to store the bikes in the winter or the snow-blower in the summer, we can look out the window and say, "yeah I know it's worth it, you just can't beat that view."



Nature's poopiest bird.
The best part of living on a park is the wildlife. I don't even know where to start, so I'll start with the birds. Oh my god the birds! We get every bird you can imagine passing (if your imagination is confined to Minnesota, of course). We have all the usual suspects: chickadees, finches, cardinals, blue jays... We've got one asshole woodpecker who periodically attacks our house like it just insulted his mama. There are the occasional bands of turkeys trotting along the grass next to the stream (they can fly they're just too lazy to do it most of the time). The water attracts waterfowl, usually ducks and geese but also some egrets and herons. I could do without the geese, those little jerks poop everywhere. But on the plus side they're absolutely frightened of my tiny little dog and don't really hang around my yard anymore.


I'm not sure what type it is, but I know it's badass.
All those birds are nice to have around (except the geese and woodpecker), their sounds create great ambiance, but I'm not much of a bird watcher. However, I get so excited when I spot a bird of prey, like a hawk or an owl. I've seen hawks a few times, I wish I knew enough to identify just which type they are. They are so cool. I haven't actually seen the owl yet but I can hear it clear as a bell. Actually, the first night I heard it I thought it was recording because it sounded too perfect, too much like the owls on TV (there are totally owls on tv, don't you watch The Real Nest Owls of Lake Superior?) for it to be a real owl, especially since I couldn't see it. But I'm starting to believe it is real and that maybe I will one day actually see it.


The next most common animals are all the little rodent types. You know, the rabbits, mice, squirrels. The mice we just hope to keep out of the house and garage. They are a pain in the ass, but if they attract the hunting birds I guess that's okay. The rabbits are everywhere. I like the rabbits, they're pretty cute. However I'm a little bit afraid of whatever ripped out that rabbit's throat the other day over by where we walk our dog. I haven't seen a coyote but I hear they might be around... The animals that I've seen that freaks me out the most are the raccoons. I have a few stories about them that I'll save for another day.

The Guy! Our favorite little neighbor.

Moving on. My favorite back yard animal, bar none, is "the guy". The guy is what we call the river otter who lives in our creek. There may be more than one, there may be more than 2, I don't know how long they live or what generation we're on but I know that every year since we moved into this house we've been watching the river otter come out in the spring and splash around in the creek every summer, carrying bits of this in that up and down the creek. He's the best. He is the most sure sign of spring there is.


You lookin' at me?

There are also many white-tailed dear that pass through. They're so sweet to watch, so graceful, so pretty... and so damn delicious. It's too bad we can't hunt in our own backyard, we would never go hungry. I haven't seen any fish in our stream, nor anything scary like cougars or bears. It's a great backyard it really makes me feel connected with nature.And every time somebody says something derogatory about the suburbs I think fuck that noise, my house is awesome, I'm in the suburbs, and I've got the nature channel in my backyard. And I feel so blessed.

10 comments:

  1. We have a creek back behind our house. Sometimes, there are otters. No deer, though.

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    1. interesting, I would have thought otters would be more rare.

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  2. It is lovely to have your own patch of wildlife. It must give an ever changing view.

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    1. Yes, it is ever-changing.

      Thanks for your comment. :)

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  3. Sounds like you've got waaaay more wildlife in your park than we have in ours! Every few years we'll get a black bear to add just a little excitement!

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    1. eep, I'm glad we don't get bears. I have reoccurring nightmares about cougars in my yard.

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  4. You're so entitled to feel blessed. No such luck where I live. We're lucky if we come across a rabbit.


    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

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  5. Oh you're so lucky! What a fun place to live near, and such adorable neighbours :-)

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  6. I think your asshole woodpecker's asshole cousin lives in my next-door neighbor's tree. I was just telling Hubby the other day that I knew he was back because I heard him at 6:40 in the morning when I was on my way to work and spent ten minutes trying to spot him. We hear him WAY more often than we see him. I'm also obsessed with birds of prey especiallyowls--I'm pretty sure the hawk in your picture is a red-tailed hawk, but I can't see the tail clearly enough to be absolutely certain and Minnesota's pretty far afield from my usual fields. Really enjoyed this tour of your backyard. ;)

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