Backyard Animal Parade

I put together some video clips of animals we’ve seen in our back yard over the past year or so. They include deer with fawns, wild turkeys, and raccoons.

I’m not a wildlife expert by any means. I searched the web for questions I had about the behavior of these creatures.

Are raccoons always or even mostly solitary foragers? I guess not, since there were a couple of them finding something to eat in our yard. Maybe it was a couple of former litter mates. I don’t think it was a date. They weren’t paying much attention to each other. Usually, males tend to be solitary as adults.

I’ve read articles by authors who assert that wild turkeys and deer get along pretty good, but obviously some big male turkeys get literally ruffled at the sight of fawns. Male turkeys usually ruffle their back feathers and fan their tails to intimidate other animals—including fawns, at least occasionally. They eat pretty much the same food, so they probably see each other as competitors sometimes. And I saw one YouTube video in which the narrator interpreted a fawn (without spots, maybe a male) rushing at turkeys and the turkey rushing back as a strange game of tag.

Does (plural of doe) tend to wean fawns between 2 and 4 months, but that doesn’t stop fawns from trying to nurse later. However, this doe ignored the fawn trying to nurse. The other fawn seemed to be trying to taste a branch with dead leaves on it—so maybe that one is getting the message.

The Park

It’s balmy for December. Sena and I went for a walk on the Terry Trueblood Trail and ran into our neighbors doing the same thing! Seabirds were diving headlong into the lake. We’ve never seen them do that. Maybe they were fishing for minnows. About a week ago we saw a hawk. It might have been a Cooper’s Hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. It had a yellow spot at the base of its bill, so I’m going to say it was a Cooper’s Hawk.

We also saw a small brown creature in the lake on a stack of tree limbs. It was eating something. I couldn’t see its tail, but it could have been a young beaver or a muskrat. Its nose tapered instead of looking blunt and boxy, so maybe it was a muskrat.

Last week a squirrel chattered at us almost nonstop. It was pretty grumpy for some reason. We sure know a bald eagle when we see one.

Sometimes it’s more fun to enjoy a little mystery than to hunt for all the right answers.

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