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A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

A break from urban wildlife for a day at the beach

LAKE MICHIGAN -  Even a dog has to take a break from all the excitement of his backyard kingdom.  On this sunny summer day, George, my husband, and I head to the beach.  Our friends, Nancy and Don, own a cottage on Lake Michigan, and they have invited the three of us to spend the day at the beach.

This is George’s first visit to Lake Michigan.  The waves were a little intimidating at first.  He would sniff the water, but he would not allow himself to get wet.  He wouldn’t even dip his paw into the water to check it out.  Then something caught his eye.  George noticed the beautiful white birds walking along the water’s edge.  He tried to get close to these interesting critters, but they would simply fly off.

Silly me, I thought seagulls only lived by the ocean, and then I moved to Michigan and discovered the Big Lake is home to a thriving population of seagulls.  I have since learned that seagulls or gulls will live al

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

Urban Wildlife - Critters who taunt George - Meet Nutty

George is one of the most good-natured dogs you will ever meet.  I feel bad for him when “Nutty” and his squirrelly friends taunt him.  I think they realize they are safe around George since he is not very fast on his feet.  We have two types of squirrels living in our backyard: several Fox Squirrels and one American Red Squirrel.

Fox Squirrels are the largest squirrels in Michigan.  They are sometimes confused with the slightly smaller Eastern Gray Squirrel.  The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is Fox Squirrels have reddish-orange bellies, while their cousins, the Gray Squirrels, have white bellies.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Urban Wildlife - Meet Hawkeye

Hawkeye” is the most feared creature in our urban forest.  I think the critters fear him even more than “Kitty”, the neighborhood’s gray tabby.

The critters (birds and the four legged kind) must have a sixth sense.  They will be happily eating and all of sudden they all scatter.  Several seconds later, Hawkeye will fly over the backyard or land in a nearby tree.

I think Hawkeye is a Cooper’s Hawk.  The most common urban hawk is the Cooper’s Hawk, which can be confused with the smaller look-alike Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

Urban Wildlife - Meet Tommy and Henrietta

George and his Backyard Critters – Meet “Tommy” and “Henrietta”:

“Tommy” and “Henrietta” are the wild turkeys who live in the neighborhood and visit our bird feeder once in a while. We don’t see the turkeys very often, maybe it’s because they can go 14 to 20 days without food.

Michigan turkeys disappeared in the late 1800’s. In the 1950’s, wildlife biologists reintroduced turkeys in southwestern Michigan and later in the northern part of the state.  Today, there are about 200,000 wild turkeys roaming around Michigan.

Two of those turkeys live in our Forest Hills neighborhood. They are the Eastern Wild Turkey variety.

No Dog Park for Rockford, Yet

No Dog Park for Rockford, Yet

Rockford City Council members recently listened to residents about funding for a dog park. At the regular May 9 city council meeting, no action was taken at this time, leaving fund-raising efforts up to local residents who want the park. Start-up cost to the City of Rockford was estimated to be between $15,000 and $20,000. The major cost, about $12,000 would be erecting a two section fence around and dividing a old ball field which is located on the Rogue River Nature Trail, one section for small dogs, one for large dogs. City Council members were divided on the issue of funding, not wanting to use taxpayers' money in such a tight economy,  and one in favor of seeing if local residents could raise the total amount needed to fund the park.

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George and his Backyard Critters - Meet Baldy

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George and his Backyard Critters - Meet Baldy

Part 2 – Meet “Baldy”

I think one of the most beautiful birds is the male Northern Cardinal.  Red is my favorite color, which is one reason why I can’t take my eyes off of cardinals.  They also have those beautiful crests on top of their heads.  Cardinals don’t migrate and keep their color all year round because they don’t molt into a dull plumage like the Gold Finch.  This means the cardinals are still breathtaking in my snowy backyard all winter long.  Don’t get me wrong, the females are also very pretty, but the males are stunning.

The other thing about male cardinals is they all look alike.   The color of their feathers is the same.  They all have the black masks around the eyes.  They all have those distinctive crests.

Then one day my husband and I saw “Baldy”.  He was unlike any cardinal we had ever seen.   My husband first spotted him in early April.  There was something seriously wrong w

Baby-Ready Pets workshop hosted by Humane Society of Kent County

From: http://www.hskc.org

Sept. 4
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Baby-Ready Pets
Humane Society of Kent County
 
The Humane Society of Kent County offers a workshop to help prepare your pet for the arrival of your bundle of joy. With a little training and assistance, you can make it a safe and (relatively) stress-free experience for the whole family. To register for Baby-Ready Pets, please contact Jennifer Self-Aulgur, Humane Education Coordinator, (616) 791-8066 or jennifer@hskc.org.