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A few "backyard visitors" here in AZ

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Zathrus, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Zathrus

    Zathrus Vindicator Member

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    Well this summer has been hot. We have had record heat and typically during the heat of summer I keep water in a bird bath out behind my house for our wild animal neighbors. Also my little pond attracts a lot of birds and animals that fences do not bother.

    The local wildlife agencies actually began encouraging people to put out water for our wild animal neighbors during the record heat this year. This way any animal in heat related distress has some chance if they can find water. I think that is a good idea. Humans typically cause the "ground water table" in areas they occupy to drop. This is especially true in the desert because humans use a lot of it.

    This means it is likely there would be far more natural water features in the area without human occupation. Therefore... we should replace this lost resource for our wild animal neighbors.
    Wildlife agencies seem to also be going to this line of thinking in this area.

    Here are some pictures of various critters visiting this year.
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    This is a little "Elf Owl" sitting on the rim of my dog's water dish. The dish is 8 inches in diameter on the rim, so you can see he is only about 5 inches tall. This is the third summer I have had this little guy showing up on days when the temperatures approach 110. If it is cooler than that and he does not show up, but he was here every night during our record heat this year. He seems very trusting or at least not very fearful of me. Once I did not realize he was there and I walked out toward my fence in the dark. I suddenly saw him fly away and he had waited until I was only about 2 feet from the dish before he bolted. I went and sat back down, he returned
    within a couple of minutes.

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    I took these two pictures of this roadrunner about 10 minutes apart during the heat of the day. This guy started showing up at about 110 degree days. This is taken on one of the days we hit 115 degrees and on all of those days he showed up here at the pond and cooled off for about 30 minutes before moving on. He was more interested in just cooling off than drinking.

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    Coyotes are common and come by every day. This one likes to come talk to my dog... and does not seem afraid of my 100 pound shepherd. Coyotes are notorious around here for using a female in heat to lure a male dog, or a young coyote pup to lure a female dog out away from their house area so they can ambush and kill the dog as a pack. They are extremely smart. Coyotes are the only wild animal documented as one that expands and thrives in population as human population rises in an area. This is opposite most wild animals.

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    This western Diamondback rattler greeted me this year right before monsoon season started. He is outside my fence and therefore not a problem for me or the dog.
    This one as you can see is about 11 years old by his rattle.
    Rattlesnakes are the most polite venomous snake on the planet. They give you 20 to 30 foot warning to not approach in most cases.

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    I had this deer walk up one morning at about 5:40am. I see these guys pretty often also.... which of course also attracts mountain lions.
    I have not been able to get a picture of a mountain lion yet, but I have seen a mountain lion within 200 feet of my house twice in the last 3 years.

    [​IMG]
    Arizona is full of Hummingbirds. This young female has "claimed the tree over my pond" as her tree. She protects it ferociously.
    This hummingbird is at the little waterfall on my pond often either drinking or bathing but most often zipping around eating bugs flying in the air as it is in this shot.

    With the start of our Monsoon season comes the "Monsoon Beetle" which can be huge. These guys spend most of their lives as a grub underground but during monsoon rains they morph into this beetle for 30 days. They do not eat during this 30 day period as a beetle, they are intent on finding a mate.
    They have large mandibles which are used if needed to fight for a mate.
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    This one is as large as a full size Bic lighter.... big... I quickly rescued this guy from my porch before he got into areas I know are treated to kill bugs. They are pretty docile but do look ferocious.

    there will be more pictures in the future.
     
  2. MyrmidonMike

    MyrmidonMike New Member

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    Coyotes are insanely smart. I live in Los Angeles, not only do they trick animals but they will jump over a 10' or 12' fence to get them. We had to put up blinds in the dog run so that they can't see our pups as easily. Had 2 separate neighbors lose a dog to a flying coyote. The first dog was a 80 lb dog too.

    This past July my father and I went up to Bishop for some superb trout fishing. One night we were driving back and a mountain lion casually crossed the street in front of us. We couldn't grab our phones fast enough. It flew up the mountain to the right of us as if it was nothing. Beautiful creatures.
     
  3. Zathrus

    Zathrus Vindicator Member

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    Yes Coyotes are very smart I agree. I have watched them hunt in organized groups here. They have several members out stationary while several other members of the coyote community begin making a very noisy progression up the wash towards their stationary coyotes waiting to ambush things as they run toward them. It is not something I expected from Coyotes... more like a wolf pack hunting... but they do seem to organize into groups at times to hunt.

    Mountain Lions are also amazing and beautiful creatures. I watched a mountain lion one day about 200 to 300 feet from my house. It walked towards some brush and entered the brush and just vanished as it blended in. They are masters of knowing what surroundings they will be camouflaged in. I have told many of my neighbors who freaked out when they discovered they are so close that it was probable they had walked fairly close to a mountain lion and not seen it.

    You could walk within 8 feet of one and never see it they way they blend in when they stop moving.... IF the moutain lion allowed you that close.
    Typically mountain lions avoid humans like the plague as they would avoid any other competing top tier predator. Thankfully, since mountain lions consider adult humans a competing top tier predator, they avoid us unless sick or injured. This is because within their instincts is the knowledge that fighting another top tier predator is almost a guarantee of death. One dies during the fight, the other dies after the fight from injuries and/or not being able to hunt properly due to injuries. So all large predators go out of their way to avoid each other if possible due to this.

    Children are at risk however... I have to fuss at children periodically starting to wander into the wash. I live at the edge of very wild desert and children should be in large groups or with an adult to avoid problems with our local predators.

    ***A safety note when your in big cat country.

    To remain safe around big cats of any kind, one must understand big cats.
    First one must understand their job in the ecosystem is to cull the sick and wounded.
    Therefore NEVER present as potential prey. One mistake I see here often is people wearing something with bright red in it... typically it is a hat or bandana... sometimes a shirt. I have always warned them and asked them to take it off.

    While I lived in the Congo, where leopards, lions and black panthers were abundant.. the Congolese people taught us to NEVER wear red when out in the bush. Wearing red they taught us is inviting an attack by a big cat. Why you might ask?

    It turns out that many of the red dies we prefer in our clothing reflect the same wavelengths as blood in sun light. If your wearing something red, you are going to activate a big cat's stalking instinct if he sees you. A big cat sees blood, your injured... his job to cull you has been activated. The big cat has no control of this, it is instinctive and is automatic. Your only hope is after stalking you awhile he decides your not injured badly enough.... then the big cat may break off, but it is more likely you have initiated what will end in an attack.

    I have tested this on African Lion's, Bengal Tiger and Mountain lions at several different zoo's.... they all react the same way... they instantly start stalking something with bright red clothing on it. The Congolese people do know their predators well.
     

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