Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wildlife Encounter in Ham Lake, MN Makes Memorial Day Memories!

Living on acreage can bring encounters with wildlife from time to time. We have hawks, eagles, blue jays and cardinals flying overhead. There are raccoons, skunks and every color of squirrel that run through our yard. We have seen grouse, pheasants and wild turkeys too.

A few of these encounters have been unusual. A few summers ago, a baby blue jay was kicked out of his nest and too frightened to fly. It spent the day in our lilac bush until it bolstered up the nerve to fly away. Two years ago we had a male pheasant that decided to feast along with the smaller birds out of our deck feeders day after day. That year a hawk also decided to make our yard home and we witnessed him feeding on smaller animals as he sat in the catelpa tree outside our home. Last fall we had a wild turkey knocking on our basement window a week before Thanksgiving. (What was that bird thinking?) And earlier this spring we had an opossum living under our back steps.

Yesterday, we had a strange encounter on our acreage with white-tailed deer. Now our property is surrounded by trees and tall grass that are perfect deer habitats and we live very near Coon Lake. We often see does, fawns and an occasional buck run across the yard. Since Anoka County soil is very sandy, my boys loved making plaster casts of their hoof prints when they were younger. But this was different.

Our 16-year-old dog, Tikki, is still with us but requires special care and gets up very early in the morning to go out to do his business. At 5:30 am, he went out to his favorite spot a few yards from the house. At his age he no longer wanders and thank goodness doesn't see well either. By the time I got my jacket on, he was having a stare down with a huge doe! So I clap my hands to distract Tikki. As blind as he is, he didn't chase the white-tailed deer as he would of a few years ago. After getting Tikki inside, I noticed the doe was standing her ground. Odd...but thought, what a great picture. I went in for my camera. With her still posing, I snapped a few shots but the light was very low. The pictures were very grainy...not much to share with my blog readers after all.

An hour later, Tikki had to go out again. I looked out first and saw a younger deer running through the same area of the yard. Figuring that I spooked it when I opened the door, I let the dog out but stayed to watch just in case. When Tikki reached his favorite destination between our back door and grass-infested, overgrown firepit, the deer bound out of the woods just in front of the fire area. Our almost blind dog was again confronted by a deer. But seeing me, this younger animal was skittish and bound right back into the woods.

Yesterday was yard work day. It was a cold spring so this was our first lawn cutting of the year. Weeds, sticks and overgrown grass needed to be addressed...After seeing Indiana Jones of course. So mid-afternoon as we pulled into the driveway my youngest son was given the chore of picking up all of the branches that had fallen over the backyard from the oak trees. These branches are thrown into the firepit for future evening activities including roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.

All of the sudden, my son is streaking across the yard for my camera. He came back and showed me the photo of a fawn in the overgrown grass by the firepit. "Should we call the DNR to have them get him? I think he has been abandoned."

Thinking back to the morning adventures, I think the fawn's mom might have just delivered the little one when Tikki made his first trip out in the morning. When I checked on the baby (and took a photo or two of my own) it appeared the fawn's legs were not yet strong enough to move. I was certain that the others were out there waiting until darkness to coax their new family member into the woods.

As dusk fell we watched from a safe distance inside our home. Just before the thunderstorm hit last night, three larger deer circled the firepit and encouraged the fawn to use his unsteady legs. The young white-tail was off with his family but gave us a Memorial Day experience we will never forget.

Ready for your own Minnesota Wildlife Adventures? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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