My backyard – where the wild things are (BSM)

Jody has been joking with me lately that I have turned into Snow White, Cinderella or some other character that all of the woodland animals love and are attracted to, as our backyard is turning into quite the animal sanctuary.

We by no means have a large yard (our whole lot is less than 1/4 of an acre), and, much to my chagrin, are surrounded by neighbors on all sides (not near a forest or field or anything), yet in the past few weeks we’ve had the following critters cohabitating in our yard:

  • 4 2 garter snakes (the first two made the unfortunate decision to venture into our redneck neighbor’s yard and soon met an untimely death)
  • 2 baby Blue Jays who were unable to fly (as well as their mother and father)
  • Several little green caterpillars
  • Bees
  • Oh, we also have another bird family living up in the eave of our house

Baby blue jay standing on my sunflower 6/5/08

Two baby Blue Jays - 6/7/08

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen me tweeting about the baby Blue Jays in our backyard over the past week and a half or so. First there was one on the ground for about a day, then it hopped it’s way up into a tree. The next day there was another baby on the ground, but this one stayed on the ground for about four days (and caused me endless worry the whole time) before getting up into the tree itself. I’m thrilled to report that as of Saturday, they were both up in the tree (and often sitting next to each other) with their parents. Hooray!

Ava and “Poozey” the caterpillar - 6/7/08

Ava has grown very fond of the caterpillars and names each one she catches “Poozey” (from ::groan:: Dragon Tales). She carries them all over the place (yes, even in the house) and puts them into a jar in hopes that they will build a cocoon and become a butterfly. When they haven’t metamorphosized by day 2 (and are generally looking a little peaked), she lets them go, finds a new one and starts the cycle all over again.

The snakes are another treat in our backyard. Everyone gets excited when we spot one and Julian exclaims, “Snakey! Snakey!” I tried to get a shot of “snakey” the other day, but it must not have been feeling very photogenic, as it was gone by the time I returned with my camera. I am hoping the snakeys will stay in our yard (or our other kind neighbor’s yard) though so I don’t have to witness any more snake killings. One was enough. :( And who kills harmless snakes for no good reason anyway? Arg.

As for the bird family living up in the eave of our house, once again this year there just doesn’t seem to be enough room there for all of the babies. Each year one or two of the tiny birds fall down onto our back patio. They are so newly hatched that they don’t have any feathers and, thus, really never had a chance at survival. This year Julian was the one to discover the fallen baby bird. He picked it up and started waving it around saying “birdy, birdy, birdy” until Jody realized what he had and shook it out of his hand. Oy.

The bees keep us on our toes. I realize they perform a valuable function and I welcome them, but I am still a bit skittish around them. I’m trying not to pass my fear onto my kids, but I also want them to be cautious around bees so they don’t get stung. The other day there was a bee buzzing around the flowers. Ava exclaimed that she didn’t like bees because they can sting, so Jody and I tried to educate her about the importance of them and mentioned that they pollinate the flowers. Julian then went walking by the flowers and, Ava, who was concerned for his safety yelled out, “Be careful Julian, or you might get pollinated!” Cue peals of laughter from Jody and me. :)

Yes, our backyard is full of nature, stories of both life and death, lots of learning opportunities and funny times as well. It certainly keeps things interesting around here. :)

I think I’m going to call the shot above of the lone baby Blue Jay perched on my sunflower plant my Best Shot for this week. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to step outside, sing a song and see what other woodland creatures I can summon. ;) Feel free to head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

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17 thoughts on “My backyard – where the wild things are (BSM)

  1. That’s an amazing backyard! I completely relate to your ambivalence about bees – I am trying to do the same but the fear is already there. I think it’s a normal human instinct, though.

  2. The blue jays in our backyard are … loud. And territorial. But your picture makes them look sweet. Maybe we’ve just got a blue jay bully. I’m glad you lucked out.

  3. You WITNESSED this neighbor killing the snake????? OMG! How do you handle living next to such a person???

    Our back yard is teeming with wildlife too….fortunately with us the weather is so hot that nobody is about all day, so I spend a lot of my time climbing over fences and rescuing little critters. Once in a while a neighbor will see me via their window, and I just smile, wave and point to whatever I am doing and they just get this puzzled look on their faces and wave back…. “oh look – the nut is out again!”

  4. Nina – Tried to email you back but you left no email address.

    Yes, I heard (did not see, thank god) my (expletive deleted) neighbor killing the snake. It had gone over into their yard just a few minutes beforehand. Thankfully the kids were upstairs w/ daddy having a bath and didn’t hear it. I had to close my windows though. It was making me sick to my stomach. :(

  5. My neighbor assures me that that our nearby garter snake eats dog poop. I’m not sure if this is true, but it keeps her insisting that it’s friendly and she leaves it alone, happily.

  6. Isn’t summer great? What an adventure just spending time in the backyard…lovely shots, and words. Teaching your children to consider nature and think about the purpose of bees and snakes and such- they will NEVER forget that! What a special post…

  7. Those pictures of the birds are great. I’ve heard that blue jays can be a bit aggressive and they chase other birds out of the area.
    Ava is such a doll…. so glad she’s looking out for her baby brother. I wouldn’t want him to get pollinated either.

  8. Wow you’re so lucky to have a great group of nature’s helpers draw to your yard. The only thing drawn to my garden lately are spider mites on my bushes.

  9. Pingback: the birds and the bees

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