Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wildlife at the pond

There are two large 6 x 6 ft windows that face the backyard of my family's house. My siblings and I name all the neighborhood cats that find their way into our backyard and prance around on the low brick walls. Some examples: "Cow cat," "Oreo," "Angel food cake," "Garfield." I wonder what their real names are.

There was once a chipmunk that lived in a hole in the brick walls surrounding the backyard pond. My father and older sister would take turns passing a pair of binoculars back-and-forth to observe the little creature crawl in and about his humble dwelling. I've yet to be home to observe him.

A few years ago, a bird built a nest atop one of the ladders that leaned against our house. The bird had a distinctive feather coloring, so it was easy to distinguish her among her bird elk. Once the eggs hatched, we'd watch the mother hen adeptly spot and retrieve worms from the ground and then fly directly back to the nest to feed her young. From one window, we could often see her eager, hungry little young egging -- eyes hardly open -- for her attention and, of course, the worm.

For three consecutive years, a family of ducks flew in and set up camp in the spring in and around our pond. My dad would provide a daily offering of various leafy vegetables near the nesting site for the ducks to eat. Upon spotting his well-meaning approach, the female duck would then instinctively spread her arms to protect her young ducklings in the water. We suspect that these ducks came from the nearby middle school, which has since been demolished and rebuilt. The ducks stopped coming after the old school was razed.

And then of course was our lop-eared rabbit, Duncan. There is nothing so bewitching as watching a rabbit -- albeit a large, domestic one -- pitter-patter through a bed of daffodils in the spring or inspecting various wild greens for consumption. Sometimes I would find Duncan with his face pressed up against the wire fence, observing with intrigue my next-door neighbor's two Maltese dogs on the other side of the fence. I miss him. Is it strange that I still think of him every day, five years later?

I wonder what animals this spring will bring. And I can't forget: There's a new cat we have yet to name (see below).
New cat spotted

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