Hey, Hey, Hawkeytown!

Our Wildlife is Getting Wilder

Like many suburban areas these days, birds of prey are taking up residence on our streets, or should I say in our trees. Our block is no exception. Thankfully, these are smaller fowl, so most of our pets are safe. However, I wish I could say the same for other small creatures. As I mentioned in a previous article, our neighborhood has seen a menagerie of wild animals on our streets over the past few years. Coyotes, foxes, turkeys, raccoons, skunks, opossums, you name it. Although there are some deer in the area, I have yet to see one trotting down our street. That said, it’s no surprise that some hawks have moved into our neighborhood as well.

They are apparently, Sharp-shinned Hawks and initially, there were only two. Their nest is in my neighbor’s tree, two doors down. Unlike the Coopers Hawks we’ve had in previous years, these birds are very visible. A little too visible, if you ask me. One day, I saw the male and female in my tree, attempting to make more little hawks. Cue the bird porn soundtrack. There are now four of these feathered assassins swooping through our neighborhood. I had hoped they would go after any rodents in the area, and maybe they are. However, their main source of food appears to be the state bird of Michigan, the Robin. Before my hound dog passed away, I had to keep her from finishing off the corpses left behind by Heckle and Jeckle, and now their two brats, as well.

The young ones have no fear, and they will hop around my front lawn from time to time. The two kids were fighting over something in the grass yesterday. After I spooked them, I was afraid to see what eviscerated animal they had left on my lawn. Turns out the knuckleheads were fighting over a white rock, about the size of a golf ball. This cracked me up, but then it occurred to me that the birds might be taking their attack strategy to a new level. Instead of strafing cars with bright white droppings, they might start bombing unsuspecting motorists and pedestrians with heavier artillery. I can hear them now screeching to each other. Hopefully, they haven’t figured out a way to lift a discarded bowling ball. Then we’ll really be in trouble. Ah nature, ya gotta love it!

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Why I Don’t Camp

Some Folks Aren’t Meant For The Great Outdoors

When you hear the word Camping, what does it bring to mind? Enjoying long weekends with your family and friends? Relaxing, recharging and communing with nature? For many campers, that’s exactly what it means. For me and my friends, camping will always be associated with a trip we took in the early 80s to The Pinery, in Ontario, Canada. It was a trip where us novice campers found out how little we really knew about roughing it in the woods. I think we had all seen too many beer commercials. Namely, where an attractive group of young ladies run out of beer, then join us at our campfire to share some of ours. Nature takes its course, and we all head home with sly grins on our faces.  Yeah, not so much.

Roy worked at a local butcher shop. So steaks, burgers, and hotdogs were packed in his cooler, ready for the grill. However, things started to go off the rails right away. Since Google Maps was over 30 years in the future, we severely miscalculated how long it would take us to get to the campsite and set up our tents. It also didn’t help that Roy’s MG (that only ran on high-octane airplane fuel for some reason) decided to conk out on the Bluewater Bridge. “Anything to declare? Yeah, my car is dead! Push it over there hoser!” After getting James Bond back on the road, we somehow managed to find the campsite and put up our tents in the fading light. Earlier that day, Joe and I had practiced putting up our tent, but the task proved difficult in the fast approaching darkness. However, with the assistance of some car headlights, we managed to get them all up. A celebration was in order, so we headed into town for some food and Canadian beer.

Joe and I had borrowed our tent from his brother Spike and we didn’t think that the busted zipper would be an issue. How wrong we were. After getting back to the campsite and crashing for the night, I woke up around 3 am to a strange feeling. I groggily asked, “Joe, what are you doing?” However, Joe was on the other side of the tent. I opened my eyes to find a full-grown raccoon standing on my chest! I screamed, the raccoon screamed, everybody was screaming! I tossed an empty beer bottled at the intruder as he waddled his way across the campsite. I thought that would be the end of our battle with nature, but I was wrong. The next day, he staged a counterattack with some friends and raided our food stash. Our steaks, burgers and hotdogs were all devoured, or grossly tainted with ‘coon slobber. So campers, enjoy your nice little weekend in the woods. I’ll stay at home, behind a double-locked door, safe and sound. As for you raccoons out there, keep it moving, ya filthy animals!

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