Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where the (sorta) Wild Things Are

We get the usual mix of suburban "wild"life at our house. Racoons eat the girls' playground balls if we don't bring them in overnight, and skunks do their stinky thing every so often. We've had a half dozen deer in the yard more than a few times. I'm sure that coyotes see us, whether or not we see them, although one day a big one loped down the driveway casual as anything, right as I was unloading the groceries. I yelled at it to scram and it just stared at me like "uh, you and what army?" Yikes.

Yesterday during breakfast, the Bean hollered that she saw a REALLY BIG BIRD! ON THE CAR! Given that she hollers like that when she sees so much as a moth on the screen door, my first thought was "sparrow." But sure enough, there was a big ol' bird of prey just hanging out on top of the car. Quick, to the window! We stood very still watching it for a while. The novelty of a hawk chillaxn (heh) on the sunroof a few feet from the house warranted a few moments of video (Mr. Sandy is away with the still camera, dang it! I can't post a pic!). It stood, sat, stood, sat, shifted its weight around, and settled in for a while. So long that the girls went back to their raisin toast and told me to alert them if something interesting happened.

People just don't say about me, "now there's someone who knows her raptors," and that's probably not going to change any time soon. Paging through my Peterson's guide to Eastern Birds, I now see that I noticed all the wrong things, if I want to be able to tell hawks apart. It had bright yellow legs! Yah. They all do. It had brown and white flecked belly and brown upper parts! Yah... all the immature ones do. It had a banded tail! Yah... they mostly all do. I failed to notice whether it had yellow or red eyes, a notched or rounded tail, a stripe over its eye, or any other critical identifying characteristic. I'm quite sure it was a young 'un, and I hope it was an endangered species, cause we have a family of four of them thriving right in our woods and it would be especially cool to see that. But it's probably the Exceedingly Common Cape Cod Woodland Hawk, or equivalent.

We are always glad though to see anything in our yard... hawks, snakes, owls, anything... that eats mice. Mice carry deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, and if you live on Cape Cod, your risk of getting Lyme is many times what it would be if you lived most anywhere else -- greater even, I think, than if you lived in Lyme itself. Also, mice nest in the cars' air vents, then proceed to die a gruesome death there when the fan is turned on, then proceed to smell awful, then proceed to cost us $35 to get the air vent cleaned out. (Loathe to spend the $35 yet again, Mr. Sandy did this job himself once, and said it was the most disgusting task he ever did, no contest. Mike Rowe he ain't, but still.)

So bon appetit, birdie, whatever you are. But dude, no pooping on the car, I just waxed it.

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