From city to suburbia

I grew up in the city, where wildlife was pretty much restricted to pigeons and crows and squirrels. And these creatures kept a distance, and certainly never ventured near or in our home.

It’s been four and a half years since we’ve moved to the suburbs, and to date we’ve had a raccoon make a home in our back porch, a squirrel nibbled a hole in our kitchen screen and help himself repeatedly to snacks in our pantry, a skunk decided to make nightly visits to our back porch as well for one whole summer, a bat cuddled up with my daughter on the couch to watch The Wizard of Oz with her when she was four, the trees and shrubs in our yard has been filled with birds nests, and on one occasion we pulled into our driveway to find a grey fox sitting by the garage door. Infiltration!

It’s been quite amazing, although I admit I would prefer if the animals stay outside.

The summer before last a duck got lazy and didn’t make it to the lakeshore–she had to travel all of about five more blocks to get there–and made a nest under our holly bush at the base of our front steps.

Every morning we left the house, and there she was sitting on her nest. Once in a while she would leave, and we would get all stressed, but she always came back. When she was gone we counted fourteen eggs!

After many days–we don’t remember how many, but those ducklings were about ready to hatch–she must have wandered too long. We stepped out in the morning and found a haze of bugs swirling in the air. There was debris all over the place, shells, blood, feathers. My husband is certain the raccoons got to them. The mommy duck was nowhere to be found.

After I dropped the littles ones of at preschool and elementary school, I returned home. Not long after the mommy duck returned. She waddled around our front lawn (which is quite high up on a hill) for what felt like hours, squawking and calling–I just stood in the window and watched her.

So far there have been more ground nests–thankfully!

A few days ago we found a nest in a dead potted plant on a table on our front porch–we were about to toss it in the garbage. It’s a chickadee nest, and hopefully this time the eggs will hatch. It will be fun to have baby birds calling right outside our front door.

How about you: Any backyard tales to share?

14 thoughts on “From city to suburbia

  1. Cool!
    The animals I enjoy seeing are the birds, there’s a good variety, blue jays, crows, turtledoves, hummingbirds and some little brown ones with red fuzz on their heads and chests. One night Sam saw a very large possum in the yard, GADS they are ugly. It climbed the fence and ran away. I finally saw a squirrel in the back recently, eyeballing the bird feeder. Sheesh. He was pretty handsome too. If a squirrel was going to be cast in a movie, they’d pick this guy. That’s all the fun animals in my neck of the woods. I envy the sighting of a fox and ducks.

    1. A possum? wow!!! And ugly huh? lol

      You are so lucky, Jess, to not have to deal with the squirrels! I could only wish!!! We put up a bird feeder, they scared away all the birds, and went through the entire thing in 3 days. They flocked, I swear it was like straight out of a horror movie! And they just don’t react when we try to scare them away–they stare at us, and I realy think they’re saying “Oh yeah, we got sharp teeth and claws. What you got?”
      It’s so odd, they come in clans. They scare some away, and yet they throw down food for others.
      Ok, enough about my squirrel problem!
      btw. I am very envious of the turtle doves and hummingbirds. I’ve seen a few hummingbirds since we moved here–amazing!
      Mainly it’s red cardinal, occasional Bluejay, yellow finches, robbins, and sparrows.

  2. Sounds like you are into the lifestyle. We bought this land (40 acres) and moved to the country about 30 years ago. There are so many experiences over the years of the joys and challenges of living “out here.” But, I would suppose I am blessed that I had the opportunity to take a completely wooded tract of land and do the frontier thing. The song keeps playing. The other day there was a large tree that had fallen across our road to get to the outside world. Had to walk to the barn and get the chainsaw and cut wood to get out and go grocery shopping.

    1. Now that’s something, Marv! Cutting away a tree so you can leave! lol.

      Embracing it? In some ways I am. but at the same time I really miss the city. Even though the suburb we’re in is only 20 minutes away…

  3. Oh, how sad for that mommy duck.

    Before we moved back to California in 2000, we had an apartment on the edge of a woods. My writing desk was by the windows in our bedroom and I used to see the raccoons waddle out and look around once in a while. I loved that woods.

    We no longer have a dog and the squirrels and cats overrun our backyard now. I have a running feud with the squirrels who help themselves to my tangerines, peaches, and nectarines. Right now, a dove has made her nest in the rafters of our back porch. I’m anxious to observe her progress.

    1. Sounds like those woods were terrific, Linda!
      So, is a dog the answer to keeping squirrels at bay? There might be a dog in our future! lol

      Sounds like bliss having those fruit trees in your yard! I’m envious. Here, we can grow plums, apples, and pears. I grew up with pear and prune trees in the yard, but I never liked the fruit–it just didn’t taste like the store bought ones! lol. As an adult, I miss them.
      I know my husband grew up with an adundance of fruit trees in his yard, but what grows in South Africa and Canada are entirely different things! 🙂

  4. We see lots of wildlife. We often see deer in the backyard. One spring a few Canada geese used to visit. I distinctly recall a few summers when we were graced by the presence of some foxes who didn’t seem the least bit put out by civilization. A bit scary when I was woke up one night to the sound of our cat having a face off with one.. We get skunks and raccoons and it’s not unusual to see bears now where once it was such an uncommon thing to see. (The green bins seem to attract them.)

    …Yes, there is plenty of wildlife here. They don’t call it living in “the sticks” for! Sounds pretty primitive doesn’t it? But please don’t feelsorry for me… lol! It’s really not that bad but then I’ve lived here all my life.

    1. Bears, Laura??? Oh, I can’t imagine that one! I think that would scare the &*^&**&^ out of me! I’m glad the cat hasn’t had a run in with one of those! We have this cute kids book, We’re Going on A Bear Hunt. Are you familiar with it? If not, look it up–I think your granddaughter would enjoy it a lot 🙂

      Certainly don’t feel sorry for you, Laura. I find it quite impressive actually to be that immersed in nature. It’s only one of many many ways to live.

  5. Wait, did I read that correctly? Did you say a BAT cuddled up with your daughter?! OMG, I totally freak out if I even see a bat high up in the sky! LOL. 😛
    It’s so ironic Jennifer. Many people erroneously think that those of us living in Africa, live amongst wild animals with lions and rhinos in our backyards. Truth is, I’m actually kind of jealous of all the cute creatures you got to see. I’ve only ever seen them in zoos and in animal sanctuaries! The ‘wildest’ thing thats ever visited our garden was a vervet monkey!

    We do however, boast an incredible variety of birdlife. I always tell myself I’m going to take up professional bird-watching-it annoys me when I see different birds of various different colours and I cannot identify them. They really are so beautiful, you can’t help but stare at them… 🙂

    1. My husband talks a lot about the dogs on the streets (which are no fun, and horrible to see) in SA, but then it’s been so long since he lived there, I’m sure things have changed a ton! He did go into the bush to see all those wonderful SA animals–so jealous!! see, we envy each other our wildlife 🙂

      Yes, my little daughter had an encounter with a bat when she was four. She was watching her favourite movie at the time, The Wizard of Oz, while I was cooking, and she came screeching into the kitchen yelling scary bird. I asked her if it was on TV and she said yes. “Maybe today the movie it too scary for you and I’ll turn it off?” “No!” A moment later she came yelling about the scary bird again. mommy says, “That’s it, movie goes off!” And lo and behold a bat was stretched out on the brick wall over the TV–it looked like a Halloween decoration. It started flying around the room in a frenzy, and we ran screaming out of the house. She told us after that it was on the couch next to her, on the same pillow, and when it started flying that’s when she got scared. Poor little doll had to have a slew of 5 vaccines over a 6 week period. But, she’s toughest of the lot of my kids–never crying once “) phew, my comment could have been a post, it’s soooo long 🙂

      1. Oh yes, the stray dogs are still around. Breaks my heart to see. In my road however, we have more of a problem with stray cats.
        Ha ha, Jen, that was such a funny story! She was right you know, it WAS on the TV! 😀 Lol.
        She seems like one brave little girl though, to allow it to sit with her… 🙂

  6. Two winters ago I watched a fat raccoon crawl from a wire at the back of our yard. I was amazed at the dexterity of the raccoon and the strength of the wire!

    1. Wow, what a site that must have been! These raccoons are so determined!
      I think they’re really cute, but whenever one gets too close I find them quite scary, especially when they have little ones in tow!

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