Critters in your backyard

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Critters in your backyard

Post by CryHavoc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:53 pm

So, we've got some new critters in the backyard this year. And a couple that have reappeared from previous years. The scariest was when a pack of coyotes walked through the back when I was outside smoking. The first coyote stopped, sat and watched me while the rest kept going, and when the last one went by, the one that was watching me joined the rest of the group. Who knew coyotes had lookouts? There are the two bats that show up every year for about 3 years now. At least one of them is curious and will deviate from it's circling flight pattern to come over to take a look at me. A new baby rabbit that doesn't seem to mind the big people walking around it (unlike it's parents that spook real easily). We had a family of skunks that weren't bothering anything until the neighbors' dog spooked them. The back yard smelled for a month. I counted 6 - a young one, 4 adults, and a large one that looked like a big badger with a stripe down it's back. One of them tried to get in the back door once. We have deer in the yard every once in a while (we counted a herd of 10 one time). Vultures that will circle until I yell "I'm not dead yet!" (I'm kidding, I only said that once). Wild turkeys across the road in the neighbors' field. A raccoon every once in a while. And I just spotted an Opossum the other night with babies clinging to it's back. Oh, and the occasional stray cow or horse that gets out of the neighbors' pen/pasture and comes by for a visit. Plus the normal contingent of squirrels and ground squirrels (the ones that look like miniature prairie dogs) and birds. And I've counted about 4 or 5 stray cats. These animals are surprisingly not being pests. Just a couple of seconds encounter and I don't see them again for weeks if at all (although the bats come by almost every night).

What kind of critters have you had in your back yard (or front yard even)?
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by austin93906 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:08 pm

we had an extremely aggressive opossum decide to sit on top of our back wall awhile back. it was hissing at everyone, posturing like it was going to hop off and go berserk. had never seen one so upset. it eventually made its way to the tree and started to climb down, so we hit it with a powerful hose. it backed up on to the wall again, but wouldnt move. so i had to knock it off with a shovel.

that and we get birds who swoop down at our two dogs, one of which is part dingo, or at least is the spitting image of one. shell stand in the backyard crouched down watching them swoop over her, timing it untill she jumps 6 feet in the air and grabs them just as they pass. picking up the carcases before they rot and they decide that its a perfect time to roll around on them is a full time job :lol:
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by BigDaddyTX » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:53 pm

Mostly I just have some rabbits. I've seen at least one opossum, but I don't think he lives in my back yard. I back up on to a several acre field, and the land across from my house is undeveloped as well. Coolest thing I saw was an albino falcon eating a mouse on the power lines, talk about a bad time not to have a camera. I anticipate having a much larger animal presence once my pond gets dug, but that project just got put off another year so until then I've got as many rabbits as you could want.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by airballrad » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:03 pm

We get lots of birds in the winter (because of the bird feeder), squirrels (because of the bird feeder), chipmunks, deer. There were three bucks back there today; one was at least 8-point.
These guys aren't technically in my backyard, but we have county land just behind with trees, grass, and a pond so there is lots of activity coming and going. There are bluegill and crappie in the pond, but I only see them when my 4-year-old pulls them out.

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by yossarian » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:07 pm

We had a rabbit until about a week before Easter. The pooch came back up on the deck one morning with the Easter bunny in his mouth. The first words out of my 5 yo son "Dad, we can have rabbit stew". I love my boy. It was a good clean kill with no broken skin, if it had been colder we would have had rabbit stew. Plenty of bats. A ruby throated hummingbird zipped up to the deck yesterday, looked at me and the boy and then zipped off again. Two tree frogs under the porch light getting fat the other night. A few weeks ago there was some kind of owl party (a hoot-enanny if you will :mrgreen: ) in the wee hours of the morning. I heard at least three different ones calling. A few brave squirrels sometimes. Its a small fenced lot in a residential neighborhood out in the county but there's plenty to see if you keep your eyes open.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by raptor » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:13 pm

I get herons looking for fish in my pool. Turtles and frogs also show up in my pool. I used to have a lot of morning doves but recently a small hawk took up residence and the morning doves are now gone.

I get a raccoon every once in a while along with several feral cats that I feed (the feral cats are TNR so no health risk), all of these are in my back yard.

Now the wildlife in my front are mainly 2 legged snakes and varmints. :D

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by CryHavoc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:22 pm

BigDaddyTX wrote:Coolest thing I saw was an albino falcon eating a mouse on the power lines, talk about a bad time not to have a camera.
Did it look like this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrfalcon" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

or these:

http://www.diversityinutah.com/albino1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by CryHavoc on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Dawgboy » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:46 am

Living on 4400 acres of mixed oak and Conifers leads to critters. Moved in in june and am battling ground squirrels, and gophers.

Others are lot's of bats, 2 kinds of woodpeckers, Stellers Jays, mourning doves, ravens, red tail hawks, vultures, golden eagles, tree frogs and toads, coyote, mule deer, bobcats, turkey, and more bugs than I want.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by roOism » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:13 am

Here it's just scorpions, lizards, and cats in heat. Back home in Idaho we regularly had deer come into our yard, we would see moose once or twice a year. Skunks weren't unheard of. Rabbits and chipmunks were normal. Saw some type of weasel creature on our windowsill once, which was odd. Had a large pack of coyotes at the top of our driveway in a shouting match with my pooch one night, my shotgun made a profound argument in our favor and they flew the coop. Hmmm, muskrats, foxes, osprey, bats, nighthawks, bull snakes, garter snakes, mice aplenty, heard a mountain lion once, Canadian geese would overwhelm the fields around our house after harvest every year. Think that's about it. Gosh I miss it.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by offcamber » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:31 am

Its like the Discovery channel at my place.. I have bugs that look like they are from the Jurassic period.. lol.

We also have coyotes, turkey, deer, bear, raccoons, opossum, frogs, toads, turtles, vultures, hawks, hummingbirds, bats (the White Nose Fungus has decimated them locally though), groundhogs, etc..

And then there is the domesticated stuff: Chickens, rabbits, Guinea Hens, ducks, kittens, and my dog. I think the local critters eat more of my animal food than my domesticated critters do. :D

I love it though, there is always something to look at, and/or shoot at (groundhogs eating garden, racoons in the chickens, etc) on a daily basis. We had 10 vultures cleaning up the chicken/duck butchering area on Sunday.. it was pretty sweet!

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Gingerbread Man » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:44 am

I have about 25 acres of protected wet lands behind my house. Yes, it's very nice and there are trails. So far we've had raccoons, deer, tree rats (squirrels), cats, bunnies, Box and Snapping trutles, 3 different Crow troops, tons of frogs and toads and a 6" Praying Mantis.
The Crows are a daily occurrance as they forage for food. The Box lives under the Azaleas and the Snapper in the pond. Bunnies came just once that I've seen.
Last time my daughter saw the deer, I quote "Daddy, I just saw the deer, he showed me his bum 'cause he flipped up his tail." Very funny.

Update, we have baby snakes. Appears to be King Snakes.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by shrapnel » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:53 pm

We had a friendly tortoise for a few years, but I have not seen it for a yearish. Which is sad- it ate our grass, and was a cool critter. Other than that, we have a pair of black snakes that like our backyard, a possum or so, a giant raccoon that isn't afraid of people at all and occasionally menaces Amir when he's out back smoking a cigarette :lol: , and some random cats. Ooh, and green window frogs that are adorable.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by arrowolf » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:07 pm

I always have coyotes and feral cats about. There are a pair of red-shouldered hawks who live in the back of the property. They often come up and sit on the fence or poles One afternoon after a big thunderstorm, there was a fox right up next to the house.

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by MVegas » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:09 pm

A couple groundhogs (no garden so I don't have to declare Jihad- plus my wife thinks they're cute), a shit-ton of bunnies (watching the neighbor's elderly dachsund "chase" them is a f**king riot), and coyotes, looking for both.
Also, the occasional fisher cat doing the same.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Maccs » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:57 pm

About 5 or 6 weeks ago, we had an influx of black bears come through. The neighbors between us and the county road (we're on a flag lot 700 feet back from the road) had their trash can dragged back into the woods by a large back bear. On subsequent nights, the bear/bears would pull their bird feeders down and eat the (mostly sunflower) seeds.
Then the critters discovered our bird feeders.
This was heralded one night at 1 AM: our young Black Lab went ballistic, barking and howling out our bedroom window.
I couldn't see anything in the dark, so I crept out with a strong flashlight. The dog refused to come with me. That should have been my warning. I peeked over the chicken run gate to see the feed barrel pushed over, and the hanging feeder swinging on its cord. Didn't see anything in the fenced run.
I turned around, and swept the light back towards the house, saw a big black bear standing under our bedroom window! I yelled at it, and it ran off into the woods.
We slept poorly the rest of that night.
Two nights later, the dog freaked out again.
So out I go, this time packing a 1911 in addition to the flashlight.
See me creeping around the corner looking at the area under the bedroom window, and toward the bird feeder? No bear. Now see me sweep the light toward the woods. Ah! TWO sets of eye reflections, one back about 30 feet away, and one closer, maybe 20 feet away. So I yell like the first time, and the closer bear stays where it is, and stamps its front feet, and bluff (I hoped) charges a couple of feet closer. (maybe that was a mother bear defending the farther one: a cub?)
Aiming between me and the bear, BAM! with the pistol, and they both run off.
I was right next to the back of the house, and the shot echoed off the wall, and my ears are still ringing.
But no bears since.

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:13 pm

Just put up a hummingbird feeder and I have the usual Anna's, as well as Black Chinned and Calliope hummingbirds that I'd never seen before. :D :D Someone else nearby must be feeding them as well; they showed up not more than 30 min after I put the feeder up.

Also, I have lots of toads in the garden and yard. I've gone out of my way to set up shelters for them so they'll stick around the veggie patch. This pays off. I can tell because there are thousands of blackbeetle wing cases by the toad shelters, and only one plant in my entire garden shows any significant insect damage. The eggplant seems to harbor some flea beetles; I guess those are too small for the toads to bother with.

I live near a pretty big lake, and loosely within a major migratory flyway (Sacramento River Delta), so lots and lots of birds live nearby and pass through seasonally. I haven't seen too many in the yard yet, but I did just get the place in June and the backyard is dead grass except where I've planted a few things. Lots of hawks and turkey vultures overhead. (My old place, we saw a 10-14 member herd of deer twice every day - I had no idea they squatted to pee! Plenty of turkeys. Plenty! A bobcat crossed the lower field one morning. And we heard coyotes frequently without seeing anything but scat.)

There are foxes nearby, but I've only seen one that wasn't roadkill (and I suspect that's the one that got it a few days later). Likewise kingsnakes.

Unfortunately for backyard wildlife purposes, my neighbors have lots of cats. Don't get me wrong. I love cats. I have 2 myself. But my neighbors only think they love cats. What they actually do is have cats. Their window screens are all ripped, so the cats wander in and out at will. And they seem to think spaying/neutering is an undesireable option, so there are now 3 breeding queens and one tom they 'own' (he pisses all over my car's wheels, the bastard :evil: ) as well as several more that come around for obvious reasons. There are probably 8-10 kittens atm, just about the age to start leaving the home territory - and basically feral, as well as being about half the size of the kitten in my house that's the same age. I'd be very surprised if there weren't more coming soon. Apparently every neighbor has spoken to them, and they just don't care. I'm considering TNRing them. Grr.


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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by BigDaddyTX » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:04 pm

CryHavoc wrote:
BigDaddyTX wrote:Coolest thing I saw was an albino falcon eating a mouse on the power lines, talk about a bad time not to have a camera.
Did it look like this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrfalcon" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

or these:

http://www.diversityinutah.com/albino1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The second. I should know what kind it is, but I've just never taken the time to google what kind of birds they are in Texas.

I've also got a ton of mourning doves, never thought about mentioning those. Pretty weird sounding since I usually hunt the more traditional kind.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Jaybow » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:38 pm

Recently shot four armadillos over the course of a couple months. Not only were they tearing up my very manicured lawn, they burrowed under the slab on one corner of my home, my deck and my shed. After staying up several nights to 4-5 am I bagged them one by one. I used my 10/22 with great success. This after several unsuccessful trapping attempts. Have quite a few hawks in the area which like the power lines on my property and a very large owl which we enjoy listening to. Had a baby raccoon a couple times, left him alone and he never returned...mama may have been nearby. Some black racers and lots of banana spiders.

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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by airexurb » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:07 am

We have gophers (fuck them, it was my flax.), some of those wee finches, hummingbirds, blue jays (we call them all 'Jay', they are unafraid of people--makes my 3 year old happy) In the area, we have scorpions, skunks, possums, cats, bumble bees, moths, a metric fuckton of snails...whiskErebellion plans on eating them. :shock: :roll:
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Ranter » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:30 am

Ignore the timestamps, I forgot to reset the date when I replaced batteries. My driveway in June.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Glennbo » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:54 pm

I liv in an apartmant in the middle of a huge city. You'd think that would mean no critters. But you'd be wrong.

I looked out my window one night to see a skunk waddling past.

Racoons like the dumpster. I see tons of opossums and rabbits. The ocassional bat or owl/falcon. These animals find the city a great place to live because people aren't allowed to kill them, and people are also afraid to approach them out of fear of disease. Plus Animal Control is totally overwhelmed. For them to safely dispose of these creatures is like bailing out the Titanic with a spoon.

So critters in the city wander around like sacred cows. Mostly at night though (check out my thread on recognizing them at a distance by the glow of their eyes on the "Survival Skills/Urban Skillz subforum). During the day they get run over by cars (thank goodness or they'd take over completely! :twisted: ).
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by maddmatt » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:07 pm

Groundhog
squirrel
rabbit
turkey
opossum
whitetail
raccoon
elk
black bear
hawk
owl
song birds
some form of crain
snakes
beaver
and probably a couple I am forgetting.
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Civilian Scout » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:23 pm

maddmatt wrote:some form of crain
Probably sandhill crane. Though whooping crane migrate through too.

On topic: I've seen squirrels, chipmunks, field mice, groundhogs, rabbits, opossum, raccoons, owls, hawks, dozens of other sorts of birds, bats, turtles and snakes in my back yard at one time or another - all within the city limits. I've seen whitetail and buzzards (turkey vultures) within the city limits too, but not in my backyard. :)
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Re: Critters in your backyard

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:41 pm

We have plenty of birds come to the feeders and birdbath. Doves and quail (mostly Gambel's, but a few scaled quail on occasion), along with house finches, lesser goldfinches, sparrows, indigo bunting, verdin, pyrrhuloxia, and some others.

We get a few bunnies, even a couple of jackrabbits. My wife saw a ground squirrel the other day. We have had a fox come by one night. (That's a weird sound to wake up to around 2:30 in the morning!)

I saw a tarantula less than a quarter mile down the road from our house last week.

And we have had a few of these guys:
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