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Urban Wildlife - Meet Doe-Boy

Urban Wildlife - Meet Doe-Boy

Meet “Doe-Boy” and his Friends:

George’s favorite characters in our backyard drama “Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills” are “Doe-Boy” and his deer friends.

Doe-Boy loves to steal food from the bird feeder.  That’s him, or is it her, up on his/her hind legs.  Like the Pillsbury Doughboy, he warms our hearts with his antics.  Doe-Boy and his seven white tailed friends come and go all year round.

Doe-Boy is the only one in his herd that takes the food directly from the bird feeder.  The rest of them are content licking up the seeds from the ground. 

White tailed deer have taken up permanent residence in the wooded areas of Forest Hills and other suburban and urban neighborhoods.  They have lost their inhibitions of humans, and they don’t have to worry about hunters.  There is plenty of food from bird feeders to yummy gardens.

When we first moved into our home, I planted all sorts of flowers and bushes.  The dee

Nature Trails on the Rogue River

Nature Trails on the Rogue River

Community members interested in putting on boots and gloves are invited to join the Friends of Sparta Trails for the first Trail Work Day of the year.  The community volunteers that make up the Friends of Sparta Trails committee are gearing up to create nature pathways and trails in the 100 acres of woods that sit along the Rogue River.  "This is a fantastic place to create trails!" says Emily Metzger, Friend of Sparta Trail committee member.  Between the beautiful woods, flowing Rogue River, and birds in the area Metzger plans to walk and jog through the park often.

"These trails will provide a free source of relaxation, exercise and contact with nature in its rustic form, for the Sparta Community," commented Village President Leonard "Skip" Meyer II on the efforts to create nature trails on the property owned by the Village of Sparta. 

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George and his Backyard Critters - Meet Baldy

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George and his Backyard Critters - Meet Baldy

Part 2 – Meet “Baldy”

I think one of the most beautiful birds is the male Northern Cardinal.  Red is my favorite color, which is one reason why I can’t take my eyes off of cardinals.  They also have those beautiful crests on top of their heads.  Cardinals don’t migrate and keep their color all year round because they don’t molt into a dull plumage like the Gold Finch.  This means the cardinals are still breathtaking in my snowy backyard all winter long.  Don’t get me wrong, the females are also very pretty, but the males are stunning.

The other thing about male cardinals is they all look alike.   The color of their feathers is the same.  They all have the black masks around the eyes.  They all have those distinctive crests.

Then one day my husband and I saw “Baldy”.  He was unlike any cardinal we had ever seen.   My husband first spotted him in early April.  There was something seriously wrong w

Creek Clean-up Day

Creek Clean-up Day

A Community Creek Clean-up Day, hosted by the Sparta Rotary is scheduled for Monday, May 23 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Volunteers are asked to bring rakes and gloves to help pick up trash and debris along the Creek beginning behind the Sparta Township Library located at 80 N. Union Street in Sparta.

May 21, Trail Building Day

May 21, Trail Building Day

The Friends of Sparta Trails welcome your assistance in the first Trail-Building Day of 2011! Bring your rakes, gloves & boots on Saturday, May 21 from 8:00am – noon to help carve out a planned two-mile nature trail loop for non-motorized traffic on the 100 acres of scenic property with fields and woods, along the twisting Rogue River within the Village of Sparta.

The Friends of Sparta Trails have been working with the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition on long-term planning to intertwine downtown Sparta Trails with the White Pine Trail and to the Musketawa Trail.

Go on-line to www.facebook.com/spartatrails or call: (616)887-2454 for more information. 

Howard Christensen Nature Center Open-House on May 14

Howard Christensen Nature Center Open-House on May 14

Have you heard? Howard Christensen Nature Center volunteers will be hosting an Open House on May 14 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Red Pine Interpretive Center to introduce the public to the "new" nature center.

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters

This is a story about urban and suburban wildlife.  It’s probably a story that is repeated across West Michigan from the lakeshore to Greater Grand Rapids.  You can imagine this story happening in Grandville, Hudsonville, and Walker on the west side to Ada, Cascade, and Lowell on the east side and Rockford and Sparta to the north and Kentwood and Wyoming to the south.  It’s a story about how backyard critters can entertain us, and at other times, causes us to cringe.  This particular story is based in the Forest Hills neighborhood in eastern Kent County. 

Part 1 – Meet the Cast of Characters:

My dog, George, loves to watch what’s going on in our backyard.  My husband and I have our TV set; George has his “Backyard TV Set”.  Sometimes the scene in the backyard is a drama, other times it’s a comedy.  George can spend hours watching the “characters” having breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Eating a