Monday, May 12, 2014

of baby birds and snakes


This is the season of baby birds and snakes.

A.

I can hear the babies peeping even if I can't see them. But sometimes I do.

You might remember I wrote about wrens building a nest in the bird house by the front door. They had been busy feeding their babies for days. A few days later I was sitting in the living room and the front door was open and all of a sudden the wrens started loudly broadcasting their danger call. That usually means the cat is nearby so I got up to see where she was and saw two little fluff balls flit for cover.

I fetched the cat in and went and got my camera and managed this shot of one of the babies in the yew tree.


About a week or so later, I could hear another little peep peep peep right outside the back door. I eased the screen open to see if I could find it but no luck. I sat back down at my work table and looked out the window where the tea cup bird feeder hangs and there right in front of me in the bush outside the window was a fluffy little cardinal keeping a watchful eye out for mom and dad.



B.

We've had three snake encounters so far this year. Last year I don't think a saw a single snake. This year, I've seen two and Marc saw another one.

My first encounter was March I think, March or early April, in the shed at the back corner of the property snuggled right into the edge of the Wild Space. We keep the tomato cages in there and also some old pots and other miscellaneous stuff we put there when we first moved in thinking we were actually gonna use it. That was before we built what was going to be the new shop which we now refer to as the Barn thanks to a note left by a package delivery guy.

Anyway.

I was in there looking to see what pots were left and I reached over to lift one out of another and a snake slid silently out and away behind some other stuff on the shelf. I'm pretty sure it was a rat snake by it's behavior, they are very shy and just want to go away and hide, but I don't know for sure. It was patterned brown and they do resemble copperheads. I like rat snakes though. I'm glad they are around.

The copperheads, not so much although I don't hate them or fear them. I do have a healthy respect for them especially since my close encounter of the biting kind a few years ago. If they stay in the Wild Space, we're golden.

My second encounter with a snake was definitely with a rat snake, about 2' long maybe, but I made sure to identify it and was prepared to kill it. I startled it out of a clump of day lilies while I was watering and it moved away against the side of the house. I went and fetched the shovel and a metal stake and when I got back it was still there. Oh, and I put on shoes.

So I dragged it out with the stake and it opened its mouth as if to bite but did not strike. No fangs. Just to make sure I pinned it down til I could see its round pupils. Yup. Rat snake. I'm pretty sure if it had been a copperhead it would have tried to strike. And yes, my fight or flight was in full force but I didn't want to kill it if it was harmless. Well, harmless to me.

So Marc had the third encounter. I was on a field trip with the garden club so I wasn't here but he walked out the door into the garage and was face to face with a rat snake about 3' long in the garage. Freaked him and the snake out. The snake scurried out and Marc scurried in.

I hope it was after the rat. Yes, another one.



11 comments:

  1. those snakes can really catch me off guard sometimes

    eeeeeeeek!

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  2. eeeeek...I don't do snakes! I try not to even get close. Ever...!

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  3. i killed my first copperhead of the season about 2 weeks ago. the dogs alerted but stayed back while i got the shovel. it was not a clean or easy kill, but it was right off the front patio so had to go.

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  4. Have only seen one oak snake this year but I know they're out there. A neighbor told me that he has an oak snake that likes to sun on the ledge right above his front door.

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  5. I'm up for birds, but not snakes.

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  6. Copperheads are rarely in high places like shelves... if that helps any.

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  7. Your cat is not doing a very good job of keeping vermin out of your walls...Hmmm, no tuna for you Kitty. I like snakes, They are cool and can not be bossed around.

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  8. I admire your approach to snakes. So many people would kill them first and ask questions later. But they'll definitely help keep the pests away.

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  9. I'm willing the snakes to STAY AWAY from you. You've had your snake bite. Enough is enough.

    Oh the birds! I wish I could catch pics of them but they always fly away before I can get the snap.

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  10. Give me your birds any day. But rats and snakes.. ugh.. nope.

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I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.