Animals Around Us

We have light fixtures on either side of our front doors. These are rather small, square fixtures that attach to the mounting plaque with two tubes, about 3 inches long and with a gap of 2 inches in between.

Yet every year the mourning doves try to build a nest on these tubes. For several weeks in the spring, the birds will try to weave a nest, only to have the wind take the strands down. It doesn’t stop until we tack strips of aluminum foil up in order to scare the birds away. Apparently it just never occurs to them that doing the same thing over and over will mean the same results over and over….

Last spring I went to leave for work and I heard the whiffle of feathers in the garage. Unable to see anything, I pushed the button to lower the garage door, and a mourning dove flew quickly from the shelf above the door. I raised the door back up, hoping to get the bird to fly out, but she secreted herself among the branches of the Christmas tree and waited. I tried everything I could think of, and went to get a neighbor. My neighbor crawled up on the shelf, and the bird flew out. It took several more minutes to get the frantic bird outside the big door.

Early this summer my partner went to pull the painting supplies out and found a half-finished nest in the box. Maybe the bird was just looking for somewhere less windy than our front porch.

The younger cat will sit on my desk and start at me as I work. Sometimes she will drape her expanse over the arm that moves the mouse, adding a 10 pound weight to my workout. Other times she will simply sit and stare at me over the back of my laptop. It’s disconcerting. After a while I begin to feel very self-conscious and wonder what she is thinking. Perhaps she is just trying to wig me out. It’s working.

We’ve been seeing little blue lizards skittering here and there in the garden. These pretty creatures, about 4 inches long, are the reason I don’t use broad weed control in the garden. It’s always a treat to come outside and see one of them warming himself on the bricks by the tomato plants.

It’s now the season of spiders at our house. We have a mama spider who lays her egg sacs on the window above the sink. She is fun to watch as she weaves her webs and wraps up tasty mosquitoes for breakfast. She’s always there at her spot, day and night.

But walk out onto the deck at night, and you will meet the wolf spiders. These things are big. We’re talking about 3 inches long. And they weave massive webs that stretch a long way. The webs and spiders are nowhere to be seen in the morning, but more than one night has seen me picking large amounts of web off my face and hair after a trip out to the garbage can.

I wonder if the wolf spiders are trying to snare a human. Their webs always stretch across the stairs leading down from the deck. What else could they be after?


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