Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife’

From en.wikipedia.org

From en.wikipedia.org

Yesterday I watched a turkey put on a show.  Yes, I have seen photos of the he-bird with all his feathers spread out in a big fan, but being naive, even at my venerable age, I had no idea why.

But yesterday I was at the kitchen window and saw a big turkey fella all fanned out like he was on parade.  He would take a few steps forward, then a few back, and then he would ever-so-slowly pivot round full circle and then back around.

Now I know what strutting really means!

I could not see the object of Tom’s affections because Lady Mae was in a kind of hidden spot.  But I knew.  I just knew there had to be a lady bird watching.

Tom’s parade of feathers and demonstrations of immense male beauty went on for 10 minutes or more – the slow turning and preening, the look of expectation – the circling round – and all to no avail.

I was getting tired for Tom (and my neck hurt from craning) and I wondered how long it would take Lady Mae to respond if ever.  Maybe she found Tom lacking in some way.  I thought he was magnificent but who am I to judge the spread of a wild turkey’s feathers anyway?  He looked majestic to me.

But then Tom Turkey suddenly gave up.  He looked beaten and rejected like a dog skulking away with his tail between his legs.  All his gorgeous feathers went down until he was reduced to an ordinary not-so-impressive turkey.  And he turned away from Lady Mae and slowly moved off into the woods and never once looked back.  I had the feeling he was saying, “I give up. There must be someone else.”

I was so disappointed for Tom and I almost turned away too, but Voila!  Here came Lady Mae out of hiding and into view.  She moved verrrry slowly in Tom’s direction.

I could just see Tom on the edge of the woods beginning to fan his feathers once again.  He moved forward a few steps, but then moved deeper into the woods again.  And Lady Mae moved forward, and the whole “Come to me darling – Maybe I will” program dragged on until Lady Mae disappeared into the woods with Tom.

OMG – I had witnessed a turkey mating ritual and I think they knew

I was a hopeless voyeur and they went into the woods to enjoy a little privacy.

Pictures?  I could not tear myself away from the show long enough.

So I’ve posted someone else’s photo above of a Tom-Look-Alike in lust.


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That morning I saw a lone deer

standing statuesque

and gazing at a field of snow.

I glanced away to other mundane chores,

looked back and back again

to find her still unmoving,

shocked and staring.

“Where is that grassy field I knew just yesterday?” 

she seemed to ask.A Cold World

“What is this sea of white?”

And as I ate a quiet breakfast and sipped my tea 

I realized hunger was the poor deer’s plight,

for there she stood shocked and wondering

what to do or where to be

until resigned she turned and walked back

into the forest.

A Cold World 2

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If you’re down my way and want to see wild animals in a more natural environment than behind the bars of a zoo, plan on visiting the Virginia Safari Park.  This is where the animals are free to roam, or block your path, or lie flat-out in the sun.  The choice is theirs.

Kangaroos Sleeping Around

Kangaroos Sleeping Around

I can’t tell you how many times I have returned to this astounding 180 acre drive-through adventure and there’s nothing like the squeals of children offering their feed buckets out the windows of the car.

View from Safari Park Road

View from Safari Park Road



Uh Oh!  Buffalo!

Uh Oh! Buffalo!

Kisses for Food Pleeze!

Kisses for Food Pleeze!

C'mon Get Out of the Car!  I Dare You!

C’mon Get Out of the Car! I Dare You!


I'm Waaaitinggg.....

I’m Waaaitinggg…..

Lllama Here!  Hello!

Lllama Here! Hello!

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Deer Turkey Convention

I went racing through the house this afternoon (just minutes ago in fact) from the kitchen window to the far back den where my husband hangs out

“Look!  Look!  Look out the window!

There is an enormous wild turkey sitting on our fence!”

And so he looked and proclaimed, “Wow, there are actually five turkeys and two deer out there!”


I had only seen one huge turkey and that was astounding enough.

I raced back to the kitchen window to grab the camera.  I know the images are a little fuzzy.  It’s a rainy misty day.

But now I am also hollering at you in the blog-us-fear,

“Look!  Look!  Look – it’s a Deer/Turkey Convention out there!”

Deer Turkey Convention 2

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Wanna Play

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I am awed by the unexpected connections sometimes formed between human beings and the creatures of the wild.

This came to me in an email and it cries out for sharing.  Obviously the warden was not only brave but compassionate.  The creature knew it, and a temporary bond was formed, based on trust.

The Gutsy Game Warden

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Photo from Wild for Wildlife and Nature

Unlikely Lovers

“I sometimes dream of being tall.”

“I sometimes dream of being small.”

“Let’s get together after all.”

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If you think you have seen a bear, you have.

That is what people tell me here in rural Virginia and yes, I have seen a bar (Virginia slang for bear) walk right by my window.  Granted, he didn’t know it was my window.  He just sauntered on by in all his magnificence as if it were his regular route to our peach trees. Bears are supposedly very shy critters and will avoid meeting up with us humans UNLESS we take them by surprise or come between a mama and her cub.  There is at least one other major causative factor leading to human-bear connections, which leads me to a good story.

I live in a semi-wilderness area where twelve human families reside in private dwellings in the middle of 300 acres of jointly managed undeveloped land.  We all know the area is teaming with foxes, ground hogs, squirrels, turkeys, deer, raccoons, possums, and yes, Virginia Black Bears.  Every now and then one of my neighbors reports seeing a huge 350 pound bear!  This may be a slight exaggeration but could be true too. They do grow to large proportions. If I walk along our country lanes I give warning  by  shuffling loudly or clapping my hands, or clearing my throat, or shouting at myself.  I doubt this will help if a bear decides to attack, but I feel better and I do not care if accidental onlookers think there is a madwoman in the area.


My neighbors claimed to be trapped in their home by an enormous bear who was banging on their windows and sliding doors.  I have heard numerous versions of the story and have settled on this one.

Dinner was delightful and my neighbors, Joan and John (fictional names), had just put away the dishes and settled down to an exciting night of television sitcoms when they heard noises at the window.  Looking up, they were stunned to see the face of an enormous black bear looking in and periodically pounding on the glass.

Virginia Black Bear

“Make lots of noise and wave your arms,” said John, and they did.  But that only made the bear more determined and he pushed and prodded ever harder on the house and the windows.  Then he moved to the sliding glass door.   “Run,” cried Joan, and they did.  They ran into a back bedroom (which also had two windows) and soon the bear was seen coming toward them again.  “Call the sheriff!” yelled Joan, and that’s what they did.  The conversation must have gone something like this:

“Help!  We are trapped in our house by a bear!”

“Trapped? What do you mean?”

“Oh no Oh no Oh no!  He’s going to break the glass!”

“You mean a bear is out there trying to get into your house”?

“Yes Yes Yes!  Come quickly please!”

So, the good sheriff came quickly, but by the time he arrived there was no sign of the bear.  Perhaps he (Bruno) had heard the squad car drive up and decided to flee the law even though he had not yet succeeded in breaking and entering. The sheriff tried to calm the couple and promised Animal Control would be out in the morning. But, the sheriff had to leave to cover other dire emergencies like a woman who reported footsteps on her roof.

My neighbors returned to their home with great trepidation.  Would the bear come back?  Why had he chosen their house out of all the others in the community?  Should they go to a motel?  Would they be plagued by this mammoth creature all night?  They decided the danger was over and they went to bed. But, the bear returned and kept scouting around the house for points of entry.  Eventually he gave up and around 4 AM Joan and John were able to fall asleep in a closet with no windows.

Later that morning, as promised, Animal Control arrived with a very big bear trap.  They explained the trap was a humane way to subdue and confine Bruno so they could remove him to an even more remote location.  The trap was laced with a big canned ham as bait (taken out of the can of course).  The result?  The ham just stayed there, the bear never returned, and the couple lost sleep night after night worrying about it.

Animal Control people did have some questions for the couple on that first day.  They began with,

“Where do you usually put your household garbage?”

Answer:  “Outside in a covered garbage can.”

Animal Control:  “What did you have for dinner last night?”

Joan and John:  “Grilled Salmon.”

There were no more questions.  Everybody knows from watching National Geographic that bears love salmon (especially “wild” salmon which was also the Joan/John preference). Our Bruno must have thought he was on the Colorado River and had fallen into a treasure trove of nature’s salmon bounty.  The fishy scent wafted over the treetops to wherever he was roaming and lured him right to my neighbor’s back yard. And the remains of that one delightful fish were just the appetizer.  “There must be more.  Maybe there’s more in that house,” thought Bruno. “If I could just get through this hard place that looks like air, I know there will be more!”

There is a moral to every story, and although this story has been ever so slightly embellished for dramatic effect, there is definitely a moral.


*This story is founded in fact. My neighbors were indeed trapped in their home by a bear and wound up calling the local sheriff. And they did leave the remains of a fish dinner in their outside garbage can. Animal Control did come out with a ham-baited bear trap but Bruno never returned.  The rest is fiction.

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Bambi Waiting in the Rain

Through a Glass Brightly

It’s raining again in Virginia.  We seem to have an afternoon storm every few days, and I wonder.  Do the animals of the forest become accustomed to sounds of thunder and regular downpours?  Do they hide or go about their daily chores as if the sun is shining?

How I love to listen to the rain pelting our rooftop, and I love to watch it too.  So I gazed out my kitchen window today and immediately saw a Mama Doe and her Fawn who were oblivious to weather.  They were dining in a heavy downpour.   Mom was munching the deliciously moist grass and quietly sitting nearby was Bambi, who most certainly was under strict orders not to move a muscle.  They looked calm, happy and cool.

Mama Doe & Bambi on Right

Oh, how I wanted a picture of this scene!  But I knew if I opened the sliding door, they would hear me and swiftly disappear, so my only alternative was the kitchen window.   Coping with window glass, rain, and the precarious movements of wildlife may have made these shots less than perfect.  But I’m thrilled to have witnessed this little family who were so enjoying a rainy day and I am so delighted to have these slightly fuzzy shots to share.

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