Monday, February 11, 2008

Wildlife - Country-style

There is quite a large variety of wildlife in the Bag Lady’s life (not counting the Cowboy’s co-workers who showed up bearing gifts of beer and whiskey on the weekend…) She has mentioned the birds she gets at her bird-feeder in previous posts – the chickadees, pine grosbeaks, downy woodpeckers, common redpolls, and nuthatches. She also sees white-tailed deer on a regular basis (they rob her bird-feeder constantly), has a resident squirrel in the granary, and a mama moose who brings every year’s calf on a tour through the yard.

The Cowboy has seen an owl hanging around the hay-stacks, which would be like Buffet Royale for the owl – the stacks are full of fat little mice. The Bag Lady has never seen the owl (it must be a man-thing to see owls, as proven by Bunnygirl in her post over the weekend), but Baggie has seen the tracks of what is probably a weasel weaving amongst the bales.

There is a herd of elk in the neighbourhood, too. This is not a welcome sight for ranchers as elk can decimate an unprotected haystack in the time it takes to write this. The herd that the Bag Lady sees every morning in the field across the road is increasing daily, so she is very happy that she and the Cowboy fenced their haystack to keep them out. Keeping them out of the haystack is one thing, keeping them away from the area where we feed the cows is another. If we get a lot of snow that makes it difficult for the elk to forage, they will start chasing our cows off their feed.

We also have coyotes who pass through the yard. Their mournful cries fill the air, causing the Princess much distress. The Bag Lady isn’t sure what their message is, nor is she sure the Princess understands it, but the Princess feels compelled to answer the call. Unfortunately, sometimes that call is in the middle of the night, waking the Bag Lady from a sound sleep!

Oh, and one more little wildlife story the Bag Lady must share…a couple years ago, she was helping the Cowboy do some repair work on some equipment, and had to go into her mother-in-law’s pumphouse to find a tool the Cowboy needed. She was searching the gloom for said tool when she felt something smack her on the hip. It made her jump, and her automatic reaction was to brush it off. Her eyes finally adjusted to the gloom and she looked down to see what the heck had hit her. There on the floor was a stunned-looking little bat! She must have startled him as much as he did her. He managed to crawl into a pile of rags for cover. The Bag Lady found her tool and left him alone. Bats eat mosquitoes, and the Bag Lady hates mosquitoes far more than she hates bats! That little guy managed to startle a few more unsuspecting humans who ventured into his domain, but survived all the encounters.

What about the rest of you? Had any walks on the wild side lately?

23 comments:

Leah J.Utas said...

The deer dance in our yard most nights, and they saunter up the streets and alleys, too.
We've had the occasional moose wander by, usually in the fall.
And there's a fox living on the edge of town.
That's been it for a while now. I miss living in the country just for these wildlife encounters.
Of course, back on the farm we'd get the occasional bear waltzing through the yard. Can't say as I miss that.

Glad to know the bat survived.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Bag Lady,

Okay, Okay, I confess. This winter, here in Florida, I live in a development that sits between two farms. When I leave the development and drive north, I see cows in the field and when I drive south I see horses in the field. As to animals up close and personal, I do see the occasional rabbit in my neighbor's yard.

You have to admit, for a girl from New York City that's a lot of wildlife! ;)

Terrie

the Bag Lady said...

We have had bears in the pasture, but the Bag Lady has never personally seen one. She has seen the scat left behind, which was enough to scare the crap out of her (no pun intended!) as it was just the other side of the trees from her garden...maybe 50 feet away.

the Bag Lady said...

dfTerrie - at least you get to see critters. Better to see cows and horses and rabbits than alligators and crocodiles!! What kind of cows are they, do you know? Somehow, I just don't equate cows with Florida. Are they just wintering there...?

Missicat said...

I need a weekend out in the country....my only "wildlife" experience was walking through my neighborhood and having a cute, stripey tabby cat join me for a bit. Guess that doesn't count...

the Bag Lady said...

Sure that counts, missicat! But the Bag Lady agrees - you probably do need a weekend in the country. Doesn't everyone?

Crabby McSlacker said...

We live in a fairly densely populated suburb, but still get odd wildlife like possums and wild turkeys.

My mom and sister live on a sparsely populated hilltop (where I was lucky enough to grow up) but unfortunately they've discovered there's a mountain lion sharing the same territory. Nothing against mountain lions in theory, but it's a bit scary to cohabitate with them as they do sometimes go after people as well as pets.

Scrumpy's Baker said...

Well, there was that guy at the tire store the other day with a parakeet on his shoulder. That was the wildest thing I've seen in awhile.

Bats are such interesting creatures, aren't they?

I would love to see a Moose up close and personal. I think they are just about the funniest looking animals, but somehow they still seem majestic.

radian6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the Bag Lady said...

Crabby - there are cougars in this area, and there have been instances of them killing people's pets. The Bag Lady tries to always remember to look up in the trees when she is stumbling around the pasture.

SB - moose are really funny-looking, while still being majestic. They also are quite dangerous, especially when the females have their young with them. They have been known to attack anything they see as a threat, so the Bag Lady is always careful about checking for them, too. Women need to be aware of their surroundings in the country just as much as women need to be aware of their surroundings in the city! The only difference is that the attacker in the country often has 4 legs, rather than 2!

And yes, bats are interesting. They undeservedly have such a bad reputation! They are really helpful little critters, eating all those nasty mosquitoes...

the Bag Lady said...

radian6 - sorry, we were commenting at the same time.
It really is wonderful to have the wildlife around, isn't it?
The largest thing my cats have ever tried to bring into the house was a chickadee! I managed to get it away from the cat, but it was too late. At least you managed to rescue the owl.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

JavaChick said...

(Sorry - was signed in with wrong account before and didn't notice; reposting comment)

We see deer on a regular basis and the occasional gopher. Once I stood at the living room window and watched a moose walk across our front lawn. Wish I'd had the camera handy for that one. And the cats brought an owl into the house once. It was still alive and kickin' (or flying). Cats got locked in the bathroom and all doors were opened wide until he made his way out.

We used to have bats living in our cellar sometimes when we were growing up. I actually think bats are kind of cute, but they sure can startle you when they fly by your head.

the Bag Lady said...

Oh, Javachick - it was you! The Bag Lady was wondering...

Emily said...

ohhhhh....the most excitement we have around here are some deer (mostly on the side of the road) and the occasional fox, armadillo and raccoon.

A few weeks ago we watched 7 deer chase off a fox in the field next to our house. That's pretty amazing considering we don't exactly live in the middle of no where.

Oh yea, my cousin-in-law swears he saw our great dane jump a deer that was bedded down in the tall grass in our back yard. I wish I'd seen that one.

Carpe Diem said...

At the new place we have seen grouse, fox, moose, and Daughter saw a bear run across the property as she was on the roof helping husband with the building.

A week and half ago there was a cougar attack not far from our property. The conservation officers managed to get the cougar, but not before it killed a large dog.

I love bats! Someday I hope to build a batouse to attract them.... less mosquitos are always a bonus!

the Bag Lady said...

Emily - you're a couple up on the Bag Lady then - there are no raccoons or armadillos around here, so she has never seen one, except on TV.
C.D. - there have been cougar attacks here recently, too. The Cowboy's father saw one (several years ago)on top of his bale stack. The Bag Lady has been lucky enough that she hasn't encountered one.
Don't know as she would go so far as to build a bat-house...life around here is batty enough that this house might qualify, though!!

bunnygirl said...

The apartment I lived in before moving into a house last August was within sight of a bridge with a bat colony. I didn't see the bats too often, but I smelled them when I ran under their bridge.

We have coyotes at one of our parks and I used to hear them and sometimes see them on my runs. I don't go to that park very often any more, but I'm sure they're still there!

the Bag Lady said...

BG - the Bag Lady has never seen enough bats together to call them a colony, so has never smelled them. She is pretty sure she's grateful for this...
There are a lot of coyotes around here, and she has lost 2 pets to them. They are well-known for trying to lure dogs to follow one of them, then the rest of the pack will attack. They are also a bit of a danger at calving time.

Reb said...

Well, it has been too cold for the bunnies that live around the complex here to be out much. Either that or the coyote that made it's way up the river valley last winter is back. Haven't heard that he is though.

the Bag Lady said...

Hi, Reb: Maybe it was too cold and they'll be out and about now that it's a little warmer!

Hilary said...

Yes, actually. I just blogged about one such incident.

As for bats.. I love them and I also had a very passive encounter with one a number of years ago. We were staying at a cottage that was undergoing renovations. It wasn't unusual to see wire wrapped in black electrical tape as a projectt was put on hold for one reason or another.

One such fixture was on the wall in the bedroom. I was aware of it mostly because the black tape stood out against the white walls.

Well yeah, you guessed it. By morning it became apparent that the black tape was actually a small bat hanging off of the wall.. all night long. We eventually ended up coaxing it into a child's butterfly net and out the door.

Great blog post, Baggie. I always love hearing about critters.

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - that's too funny! Mind you, the Bag Lady would probably have thought the same thing.

Geosomin said...

It's been too chilly for walks in the wide world as of late, but there have been deer down by the river.
And there are tonnes of bats down ther in the fall...it's neat to sit and watch them flutter about at dusk.
Once it thaws a bit and I brave the great outdoors, I'll check for more critters.