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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.

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

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters

Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters

This is a story about urban and suburban wildlife.  It’s probably a story that is repeated across West Michigan from the lakeshore to Greater Grand Rapids.  You can imagine this story happening in Grandville, Hudsonville, and Walker on the west side to Ada, Cascade, and Lowell on the east side and Rockford and Sparta to the north and Kentwood and Wyoming to the south.  It’s a story about how backyard critters can entertain us, and at other times, causes us to cringe.  This particular story is based in the Forest Hills neighborhood in eastern Kent County. 

Part 1 – Meet the Cast of Characters:

My dog, George, loves to watch what’s going on in our backyard.  My husband and I have our TV set; George has his “Backyard TV Set”.  Sometimes the scene in the backyard is a drama, other times it’s a comedy.  George can spend hours watching the “characters” having breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Eating a

Dog licenses available now

Dog licenses available now

From: http://www.hudsonville.org

The City of Hudsonville will begin selling Ottawa County Dog Licenses January 1, 2011 to dog owners residing in the city as well as those throughout the county. Beginning in January, all Ottawa County Dog Licenses must be renewed the MONTH in which the dog's rabies vaccine expires. As a courtesy, the Ottawa County Treasurer Office will continue to mail out reminder applications. You will receive your application in the month prior to the month in which your dog's rabies vaccine will expire. If necessary, you will be responsible for updating your dog's rabies vaccine at your local veterinarian's office. You will then be eligible to purchase a one year or three year dog license.

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.