Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This week on the Hunting Channel...

There I lay sound asleep, warm and cozy in my bed as shiny flaxen hair spilled across my face in gentle cascades. The soft linen sheets had been scented with rose water and hung out to dry the day before in a fading summer sun. An impish smile played along my lips suggesting pleasant dreams of a psychotic cat screaming its ever loving head off at an impossible pitch that would shatter metal!
What the ****!
Ok, first of all I don’t have flaxen hair whatever that is and secondly I’ve never even seen linen sheets let alone ones scented in rose water and hung out to dry in any kind of light. And we’re not going to talk about the impish smile. Not in public anyway. The screeching car wreck of a noise however was entirely real.
It was caused by this guy, the Sharp Shinned Hawk trying to kill this guy, the Stellar Jay.

They chose my bedroom garden for this display of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Did I mention the window was wide open? In this Wild Kingdome episode there was no Marlin Perkins narrating the live action as Jim Fowler tried to fend off the vicious attack bird. Nope it was just Mr. Blue Jay flying for his feathered life and screaming like Ozzy Osborne in a blender. Of course I certainly can’t blame him. I would have been doing exactly the same thing in his situation.

The hawk showed up last fall and then again this spring to hunt the birds. He seems to spend a week or so here before moving on. I have not seen him catch any of the birds so far but that isn’t for his lack of trying. What I do see is one heck of an air show. It distresses me to see this sort of natural selection in action but I have to remember that this is where I live and this is how it rolls. I do secretly root for the Jays.

It is actually all my fault that this happens. You see when we moved here the place was ironically lifeless, just a couple of buildings and a whole lot of gravel. Over the past couple of years we have been working to create a little eco system situation. There are now plenty of plants and new trees. Two ponds with waterfalls and streams complete with fishes and frogs etc. I feed the birds every day and have attracted variety enough to make any Audubon member drool on their binoculars.

The down side of course is that we live where we live, in the country, in the mountains and it isn’t only the pretty little birdies that are attracted to the garden. There is a group of four bald eagles that frequent the garden at very low altitude. The other day I was taking that nap I talked about recently, in the hammock; one of the eagles was flying so low that his wing flaps actually woke me up. I tucked in my toes.

There is supposed to be a system here but it doesn’t seem to be as air tight as I had been led to believe. The eagles hunt the great blue herons which hunt my fishes which hunt the mosquitoes. So why with four eagles swooping around all day did I wake to find a great blue heron fishing in my pond? Where were those lazy dogs for that matter?

In the dogs defense they have run off the black bear several times. The first time I saw that big old guy he was trundling down my walkway heading for the bird feeder. The dogs were all puffed up with big dog bravado and went charging out the door. It took all of two seconds to realize that that was the biggest raccoon they had ever seen and they came tearing right back inside. They have since regained their composure if not their dignity and they keep the big guy moving along now when he does pass through.

We don’t walk around out there in the dark and I keep the dogs with me whenever I go hiking. I definitely do not want to see the resident cougar unless of course he's chasing off those clammering coyotes. I have to remember that the beasties and I are sharing turf together so I try not to be an idiot about it. I put some netting on the pond for the fish’s safety and I am not above throwing a rock at that damn bird. I don’t leave the trash out and I am resisting the coolness factor of feeding the eagles. I love all this wildlife and I can’t tell you how deeply satisfying it is for me to know that I was able to create an environment capable of attracting it. I can’t get to full of my own mastery of nature though because there is always some critter ready to let me know that “you just aint all that.” Now what the heck just crawled up my leg?!

(disclaimer: I clearly lifted the shots of the black bear, cougar and coyote from the internet.)


  1. Great post. We have hawks that go after smaller birds down here also. Thanks again for a great outdoor adventure.


  2. I am glad you took the trip with me. It has been pretty active around here with the wildlife as they all try to prepare for the coming winter. The birds are eating like swine out there. hehe

  3. Sounds really noisy. But better to have wildlife than to not.

  4. Thanks All Adither, that cracked me up. LOL

  5. LeSan,

    I wrote a long comment then lost it. Sorry. I'm exhausted and want to paint. I love, love,love this post.

    Take care,


  6. Now, that's another thought I've had the last few days, about how I'm contributing to the birds hanging around, and then they eat things I don't want them to. Yet, the outdoors world is theirs, and I need to figure out how to peacefully co-exist with them.

    LeSan, you are an awesome writer. Have you considered joining blotanical? One can spend a lot of time there, or practically none, but your posts get fed there, and other garden bloggers get to see when you post.

  7. What a wonderful post -- you are truly living in the heart of nature, aren't you? Such wildlife you get to see, big and small. Amazing story about the hawk and jay! Here in Austin we typically see Red-Tailed Hawks, but no bears! Mountain lions on the outskirts and coyotes, too -- but in town, our deer population runs rampant. Your garden and wildlife habitat are beautiful!

  8. Greatstems thank you! I lost my computer for a time so I am rather behind on replys and postings. I am so glad you took the time to post. I am going to have to check out your deer population. Sounds like a nightmare for the gardeners but those are such beautiful animals... I have not been a victim of them so far. LOL