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Old February 9 2013, 09:15 PM   #16
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
I've seen birds of prey circling my neighborhood before, in the summer, but they were kestrels. This was the first time I've seen a merlin, let alone one in action.
If it's not too personal a question: where do you live?
I'm asking because last Sunday I had a similar encounter. We do have Merlins in summer here in Bavaria, but normally they migrate south during the cold season. It's highly unusual to see one at this time of the year.


About 10 years ago I was on my way to a creek I wassupposed to sample and I had to fight my way through dense shrubbery. When I pulled a few twigs aside, I found a pretty surprised Hazel Dormouse dangling from a twig, right in front of my face. The poor chap was rigid with fear and I managed to take a photograph before he collected his wits and ran. I'll see if I can find that photo in my office's archieves next week. I hope they didn't throw it away when they moved the archives 2 years ago. (The pic was taken before I had a digital camera, else I'd have a copy on CD )
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Old February 9 2013, 10:02 PM   #17
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
J.T.B. wrote: View Post
I've seen birds of prey circling my neighborhood before, in the summer, but they were kestrels. This was the first time I've seen a merlin, let alone one in action.
If it's not too personal a question: where do you live?
I'm asking because last Sunday I had a similar encounter. We do have Merlins in summer here in Bavaria, but normally they migrate south during the cold season. It's highly unusual to see one at this time of the year.
Salt Lake City. You're a little further north, we're higher in elevation. I know they're a wide-ranging bird, but that's pretty interesting!

Justin
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Old February 9 2013, 10:26 PM   #18
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

In my former home we had an abandoned over-grown market garden over the back fence. One day the authorities decided to burn it off because it was a fire hazard.

A few days later I heard a noise in my kitchen and I went out to investigate and two bandicoots ran past me. They had been eating a piece of bread that been dropped on the floor.

This was before I had any cats so I started to leave out diced apples, and rolled oats mixed with peanut butter for them. I rarely saw them but the food was gone each day. I kept doing this until there was regrowth over the back fence.

I also found an echidna in my yard once. As soon as he saw me he dug down into the ground so I left him alone.
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Old February 9 2013, 11:21 PM   #19
gturner
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

I keep running into a blue heron in the back yard. I have a decorative pond with goldfish and I'm pretty sure it's stalking them at times. A few weeks ago a cop saw it standing on top of the pond's waterfall and didn't even try to arrest or question it. I suppose the heron appeared to be minding his own business so the cop didn't have probable cause, but when I see a heron standing in a pond full of six-inch goldfish my mind would scream "crime in progress."
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Old February 9 2013, 11:21 PM   #20
teacake
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

This spring I was attacked by a pair of King Parrots. They swooped me back and forth in tandem. I'm assuming they had a nest near by. I could feel the beat of their wings on my head. I didn't know King Parrots did that, usually it is Magpies that swoop people in the spring. The King Parrots are pretty big so it was a bit unnerving.

Oh and Miss Chicken I had an echidna in my yard once too, in my previous house. I had a massive bull ant nest in the yard which was very hazardous and the echidna showed up, stayed a few days and ate all the bull ants.
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Old February 9 2013, 11:52 PM   #21
Gary7
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

Retu wrote: View Post
Few years ago, when I was walking to the university I had a distinct feeling that I was being watched. I stopped and looked around, but there was no one around. Then I noticed a bush next to me. Inside was a small owl and it was staring at me like owls usually do. We stared at each other for a few moments until I continued my journey.
I've heard it said that our eyes take in more information than we consciously process (same thing is true with hearing). You may have spotted the owl out of the corner of your eye, and only subconsciously registered it, strong enough that it eventually triggered your conscious mind to feel like you're being watched.

I saw a PBS nature program about crows. It was fascinating (with all due respect to Mr. Spock). The crows can recognize people from very far away, and have a "communal" understanding of who is dangerous and who is not. If one spots someone potentially dangerous (resembles someone who previously endangered them), they'll rapidly communicate with each other about the danger then deliver vicious call sounds to the potentially hostile intruder.

Animals are generally more aware and knowledgeable than most people realize.


Yesterday I was walking around outside and I saw what appeared to be a black stray cat. It started to scuttle across the street but looked both ways first, and when it got midway it paused, waited for a car to pass, quickly looked both ways again and then darted across the rest of the way to safety. I've seen human beings far less observant of traffic when crossing the street!
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Old February 10 2013, 06:09 AM   #22
M'Sharak
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

scotpens wrote: View Post
So, yesterday morning, I'm awakened at 6 A.M. by a strange, loud chattering noise. I throw on some clothes and go outside to look, and there are two raccoons mating in the yard next door. I've lived in the same place for 30 years and I've seen opossums and even a skunk one time, but no raccoons until now.

Cute little buggers, aren't they? Oh,and they copulate for a LONG time -- often for over an hour. If only I had a cellphone camera or a camcorder, I'd be posting raccoon porn.

So, has anyone else had an unexpected encounter with wild critters lately?
I never met a skunk in that neighborhood (you could tell now and then that they'd been around) but used to see possums all the time - the block wall separating the apartment building where I lived from the one on the next street over was like an opossum main thoroughfare. Meetings with raccoons were much less frequent, always unexpected, but never involved copulation.

Where I live now, there's a young Cooper's hawk I've met a couple of times. Once, he'd just caught a gopher underneath the big cedar next to our driveway; the other time he'd been cornered on the ground by crows, and my walking unannounced around the corner of the house distracted the crows for long enough that he was able to make his exit.
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Old February 10 2013, 05:07 PM   #23
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

My partner and I were traversing Monitor Pass (about 8,300 ft. elevation, over the Sierra Nevada mountains) last spring, and were at the highest point of the pass (just passing the sign for it). We were the only car in sight and it was a beautiful sunny day. Here's a picture get an idea of the open terrain in that spot: Monitor Pass.

All of a sudden, we see a large brown bear running at full speed across the road in front of us. We could see it starting all the way to the left of the open terrain, running across the paved road, and slowly disappearing as a speck into the field on the right. It was far enough in front of us that it didn't seem to know or care about our presence, but it was a beautiful sight.
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Old February 10 2013, 11:30 PM   #24
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
Salt Lake City. You're a little further north, we're higher in elevation. I know they're a wide-ranging bird, but that's pretty interesting!
Amazing. I'd never have expected Merlins to go that far south and into such a hot and dry climate. Ours live mainly on small birds and mice which both would be rather rare near the salt lakes, I imagine.
I'm at about the same latitude as Vancouver. Elevation varies between 4700 feet and 1200 feet (the area is a bit hilly...)
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Old February 11 2013, 11:56 AM   #25
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

gturner wrote: View Post
I keep running into a blue heron in the back yard. I have a decorative pond with goldfish and I'm pretty sure it's stalking them at times. A few weeks ago a cop saw it standing on top of the pond's waterfall and didn't even try to arrest or question it. I suppose the heron appeared to be minding his own business so the cop didn't have probable cause, but when I see a heron standing in a pond full of six-inch goldfish my mind would scream "crime in progress."


Yes, my old pond in the back garden suffered from heron predation too. One of the local grey herons must have spotted it while on his rounds and added it to his usual patrol. So much for the fish population.

Other than that, I wouldn't say there's a lot of "unexpected" wildlife in my garden. Some young foxes make a patrol of it most nights, and we used to have hedgehogs until they picked a fight with the cars. At university, muntjac would sometimes walk past my window, which was always a nice surprise, and of course there were my bats. I say "my bats" because I grew quite fond of them. I think I was attracting insects, because they tended to swoop around me, far closer than I thought they'd come.
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Old February 11 2013, 12:01 PM   #26
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
Where I live now, there's a young Cooper's hawk I've met a couple of times. Once, he'd just caught a gopher underneath the big cedar next to our driveway; the other time he'd been cornered on the ground by crows, and my walking unannounced around the corner of the house distracted the crows for long enough that he was able to make his exit.
Is this the start of a beautiful friendship? Or at least a satisfying alliance?

"Ever having a gopher problem, mate; well, give me a call, I'll see what I can do, you get my meaning?"
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Old February 11 2013, 01:12 PM   #27
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

gturner wrote: View Post
when I see a heron standing in a pond full of six-inch goldfish my mind would scream "crime in progress."
LOL that reminds me of my buddy Diane from Canada who once ran out of chat screaming "MY FISHIES!!!!!"
Turned out that she has a goldfish pond made of thick plastic foil and a herd of moose jumped the fence, waded into the pond and ate all the water lilies, slicing the foil with their sharp-edged hooves and causing the pond to fall dry.
Afaik she's been eating a lot of Moose stew lately...
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Old February 11 2013, 04:23 PM   #28
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
Amazing. I'd never have expected Merlins to go that far south and into such a hot and dry climate. Ours live mainly on small birds and mice which both would be rather rare near the salt lakes, I imagine.
Well it is pretty cold and wet (with snow) right now; when I saw the bird we had gone about two weeks without temperatures above freezing. We're well within the merlins' winter range, and there should be plenty for them to hunt. I've seen them in rural areas before, but never in the suburbs.

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Old February 11 2013, 04:25 PM   #29
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

I was walking down 6th avenue with a friend when a guy walking a few feet in front of us suddenly stopped, pulled down his trousers, and shat in the middle of the sidewalk. Not really wildlife, but I figure it's as close as I'm going to get.
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Old February 11 2013, 05:03 PM   #30
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Re: Unexpected Wildlife Encounters

Tom Hendricks wrote: View Post
When I was stationed at Eielson AFB in Alaska, I came out of my dorm to find a Moose and its Calf munching on some grass. It was almost directly in front of the door to the dorm, I had to slide by unnoticed, they are very protective of their young.
Moose were a common fixture at Eielson. I sure remember trying to escape their attention whenever I saw one, especially when they had their kids in tow. My parents' van almost got rammed by an angry mama moose once--as in, it charged and the van barely got out of the way in time.

When I was a kid living in small town Illinois, I found a dead bat on the stairs inside the house. My mother didn't believe me when I told her it was there, until I stabbed it with a fork and brought it to her. (I knew better than to touch a dead wild animal.)

One time while living in Indiana, my neighbor had a raccoon in her garage. We were trying to shoo it out, and it climbed up onto the automatic opener dealie. Trying to scare it out, I hit the button to start opening the door, and it thrashed and globs of something fell out onto the car. My neighbor's daughter started screaming, "you're squishing it!" But no, it had just shit itself in fear. It ran out of the garage, never to be seen again. Crazy ass raccoon.
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