My house is located across the street from a small creek that sees a lot of action throughout the year. That’s one of the great things about living in Michigan – four separate seasons provide lots of variety in both the view and the wildlife.
Throughout the year we have a highly active squirrel population surrounding our property. Lots of mature trees provide the acorns, berries and whatever food they require throughout the year. In the summer and fall we have lots of cardinals, robins, wrens, etc.
Last year the creek level was very low – mostly just the mud bottom for many weeks – and I had the rare pleasure of seeing a red fox for a few days. The fox probably took advantage of the low water level to explore the creek and search for food. When the water level is high the creek has crayfish and sometimes the occasional small fish.
Groundhogs or woodchucks live in the area, along with skunks as evidenced by the fragrant reminder they leave for us in the evenings. I tell my dogs to leave the ‘black kitties’ alone, but all they hear is “mwah mwah mwah mwha KITTIES!!! mwah mwah mwah.”
Spring is bunny making season, and the rabbits are all over the place right now.
There’s a large wood duck nesting box attached to a tree across the street, but for the past few years the squirrels have claimed it as an acorn storage warehouse. Until this week.
My German Shorthaired Pointer is going berserk because at least one family of Wood Ducks has picked our neighborhood as their new home. Don’t worry, the ducks are safe – the Pointer can’t get to them and the nesting box is very high off the ground.
I’m so excited to see these beautiful wood ducks for the next few weeks. The female looked like she’s adding nesting materials to the box, and according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the gestation period for wood ducks is about 28-30 days, and the females lay about 12 eggs. I hope I get to see them before they migrate. I’ve read these ducks are really timid, but if I happen to get any photos over the next few weeks I’ll post them.
UPDATE as of April 22, 2013: Sadly, it appears the squirrels came back and evicted the wood ducks from their acorn storage facility. We found one broken shell outside the box on the ground, and all the wood ducks seem to have disappeared from the area. There’s still a mallard family that hangs out near our yard every spring, but it appears the wood ducks have moved elsewhere. Maybe next year…