Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Spring is sprung

S. Lewisberry Rd., Monaghan Twp. York County, PA
Last night I heard the whistle of tundra swans over the cabin, heading north. Theirs is one of those sounds that is easy on the ears and so evocative of nature and the wild. Along with the call of a loon and the scream of a red-tailed hawk, the soft whooing whistle of a flock of northbound swans conjures up images of the wild landscape to which they are returning. It is spring when the swans fly north.

Signs of returning spring are common here on the mountain now. The first red-winged blackbirds have appeared. The males come first, seeking to find the best territory from which to attract a mate. Common grackles arrived over the weekend.

Last night, while listening to the swans and trying to see them in the dark, I saw two sets of eyes high up in an oak tree next to the cabin. My cabin is 28 ft. tall and these eyes were close to twice the height of the cabin. I went inside for my binoculars and after my eyes adjusted better, I discovered two young raccoons. I was surprised to see them so high up, let alone in a tree with no branches below the height of the cabin’s roof. But there they were, peering down at me while I was peering up at them.

This morning a fox rushed at my chickens, a scene I witnessed as I was returning to the cabin after Baby Dog’s walk. The fox had no luck and soon saw me and rushed off into the woods. When I got to the chicken pen to check on them, I saw Doodle the rooster all puffed up at the front of the pen, trying to make himself look taller and meaner than he is. He was trying to protect his girls from the fox. The chickens were upset by the fox but unharmed. I think I should place the extra layer of chicken wire around the front of the pen tonight. Fox don’t give up very easily, and I’m sure this one will be back.

Spring is here now and foxes and raccoons both think the chickens are an easy target.  Hopefully not.

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