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Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

George is one of the most good-natured dogs you will ever meet.  I feel bad for him when “Nutty” and his squirrelly friends taunt him.  I think they realize they are safe around George since he is not very fast on his feet.  We have two types of squirrels living in our backyard: several Fox Squirrels and one American Red Squirrel.

Fox Squirrels are the largest squirrels in Michigan.  They are sometimes confused with the slightly smaller Eastern Gray Squirrel.  The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is Fox Squirrels have reddish-orange bellies, while their cousins, the Gray Squirrels, have white bellies.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Hawkeye” is the most feared creature in our urban forest.  I think the critters fear him even more than “Kitty”, the neighborhood’s gray tabby.

The critters (birds and the four legged kind) must have a sixth sense.  They will be happily eating and all of sudden they all scatter.  Several seconds later, Hawkeye will fly over the backyard or land in a nearby tree.

I think Hawkeye is a Cooper’s Hawk.  The most common urban hawk is the Cooper’s Hawk, which can be confused with the smaller look-alike Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Excessive Spring Showers Hinder Spring Planting Season

Excessive Spring Showers Hinder Spring Planting Season

Farmers in the Sparta area are feeling the results of excessive rain during this Springs 2011 Planting season. Because of the extreme saturation in the soil, the tractors and equipment have not been able to access the fields. The Spring planting season is jeopardized and therefore has put back the harvest season in the fall. The growing season is shortened and the nutritional value in the crops decrease therefore being less effective in nutrients for the livestock.

While some farmers are having better luck with higher ground, others are at the mercy of the weather forecast.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

George and his Backyard Critters – Meet “Tommy” and “Henrietta”:

“Tommy” and “Henrietta” are the wild turkeys who live in the neighborhood and visit our bird feeder once in a while. We don’t see the turkeys very often, maybe it’s because they can go 14 to 20 days without food.

Michigan turkeys disappeared in the late 1800’s. In the 1950’s, wildlife biologists reintroduced turkeys in southwestern Michigan and later in the northern part of the state.  Today, there are about 200,000 wild turkeys roaming around Michigan.

Two of those turkeys live in our Forest Hills neighborhood. They are the Eastern Wild Turkey variety.

More Summer Camp Fun

Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer. Make sure that your summer plans include a trip to the Howard Christensen Nature Center!

It's That Time, Again!

It's That Time, Again!

Last weekend, my husband & I drove up to our woods property in Big Rapids to water some trees that we planted and we walked around hunting for morel mushrooms. We noticed that the vegetation was not right for the mushroom season but my husband found 3 partially dried up mushrooms. Mushroom hunting has always been a favorite of mine, even though I don’t have that x-ray vision, like some do who find grocery bags full of morel mushrooms. The few that I discover are a delicious treat!

Bird's Nest Dilemma

Bird's Nest Dilemma

Every year my husband gives me 2 new hanging plants for Mother’s Day! He usually gives me geraniums but we find that the birds build nest in the geranium hanging pots. This Mother’s Day my husband gave me 2 hanging pots with dark pink petunia’s and he said, maybe this type of flower will not draw the birds to build their nests.

Normally, I water the plants with a watering can but this weekend I took the hanging plants down to water them. In one of them, I found this very small nest with 4 dime size eggs in it. In past years, I usually find an empty nest before the bird lays their eggs & I remove it from the hanging pot but I just couldn’t take the nest out of the pot this time. This weekend I watered around the nest.  I don’t know what kind of small bird is in my hanging planter but I wish I could take the nest out & place it somewhere else.