September 20, 2020

Go To The City to View Wildlife

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homereagles - CopyYesterday, or I should say last evening, was an interesting time here in the community where I live in Florida; a community nestled among about 80,000 people citywide and about a million countywide. I have written about the abundant wildlife I find sharing space with all these people here.

I grew up in the country in the state of Maine. I lived in the woods and saw my share of wildlife but for many species, viewing that wildlife in Maine, then and now, pales in comparison to the abundance I find here.

I’ve written of the coyotes and shared photos of hawks, etc. But last evening, in between thunder storms, I went on a bicycle ride around the neighborhood. I rounded one corner just as a large bald eagle was flapping his wings to land on the light pole above my head. I stopped and got off the bike and we had a conversation….well, actually it was more of a monologue.

I told the eagle that he had much prey to choose from in this neighborhood. I encouraged him to go find the coyote dens and pointed in the general direction. There he could find pups that would make excellent table fare.

We have tons of wild rabbits in our community, which is, I’m sure, the main reason the eagle was visiting. In addition I tried to entice the eagle to go after the cats, especially the ones that come to my house and piss in my flower gardens and leave a nasty smell. And then there are the dogs, the yappers. Please Mr. Eagle, couldn’t you do something about that? There are plenty of them and the ones where the owners open their front doors and let their doggies run free dumping and peeing on everyone’s lawn. Yummy! Wouldn’t those taste good?

Ok, I’m getting off the subject here.

I observed the massive bird for quite some time, until he flew off, making a few circles before he disappeared among the trees in the distance near where the coyotes hang out.

I crawled into bed about 10:00 p.m. and fired up my Kindle. Yeah, yeah, yeah! I’m still working on getting through Gangs of America. But I’ve had other reading assignments.

As I settled down, trying to get my head in the right position so I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable I wouldn’t want to read and yet just so, so that when I fell asleep reading, the Kindle wouldn’t fall and hit me on the nose, I heard a noise.

The noise was feint. Enough so that I couldn’t tell if it was a mourning dove sitting on my roof cooing himself to sleep or something else. I tried to ignore it but I’m anal with such things.

I got up and turned on my fan thinking it would drown out the noise enough that it wouldn’t distract me in my reading and more importantly, keep me from falling asleep.

That didn’t work. I knew I was going to drive myself crazy if I didn’t go chase this thing away. So, I got up and threw on my shorts and headed outside, craning my neck up toward the roof looking for the cooing, whooooing culprit.

Then came the distinct, whoo, whoo, whoo-whoo-whoo! It was just down the street a bit. I walked in that direction. He wasn’t too far away but I couldn’t fix my eyes on it. Surely an owl but I’m not sure what kind. He, or she, hooted repetitiously, the same cadence for several minutes as I listened. What was he doing this for?

And then off in the distance came the return of hoots, seemingly an echo of what I was hearing from the owl closest to me. This continued for some time, even as I retreated to my house and back to the bedroom.

Crawling back into bed, fan still running and Kindle waiting my return, I went back to reading, still hearing the hoots outside.

Odd that had I heard this at my camp in Maine, it would have been cool. Hearing it here was cool but somehow a bit annoying.

When I turned out the light to go to sleep, I listened intently but it appeared the hooting was gone.

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