(Wild)Life in New Jersey

Wildlife can be a little scary and intimidating, at least if you are a city person like me. When I first moved from Atlanta to New Jersey I was expecting things like fresh air, a backyard and a second floor in my house. I was not expecting honest to god wildlife here in the New Jersey suburbs. New Jersey is not the kind of place that automatically brings to mind wildlife of all kinds. And yet, after over a decade of living here, I’ve discovered that wildlife surrounds me everywhere -here in the land of the three car driveway and the soccer mom.

Mot of all, I have finally gotten used to the sight of skunks and woodpeckers that take up half of my yard. thistle-feedersPerhaps my favorite wildlife was the day that my husband decided to put out some sock feeders and some goldfinch food. Within an hour, we had literally a dozen brightly colored birds in our backyard. It was wonderful and amazing. We’ve done the same thing each year since then and had the joy of being greeted with the sight of what must be some of the worlds most beautiful birds.

While I love certain wildlife, I freely admit there are some kinds of wildlife that I don’t like at all. At one point in time, one of my neighbors ran over something wild. I’m not sure what it was but it was in front of my front yard and it had guts all over the front walk. Yuck. The neighbor alas did not live up to his promise to clean it up. When we still lived in Atlanta, we had a small pest issue, and we called Atlanta armadillo removal. I liked them because they do not kill the animals they capture. With that in mind, I had to call for wildlife removal information. While I negotiated with local authorities, I looked up and saw it. A humongous bird of enormous size. This thing was incredibly large. And it was in my front yard. Eek.

After gasping, I called my husband at work. My husband promptly informed me that the giant bird in the front yard was a turkey vulture. This did not make me happy. I’m fine with nice normal birds. Give me common robins, a pleasant cowbird or even the sound of the red winged blackbird and I’m fine. When confronted with the sight of a gigantic bird feasting on something dead in my front yard I turn to jelly. I literally sat there and watched that thing for twenty minutes. My husband still teases me about it to this day.

My other favorite encounter with wildlife was the time I spotted a deer in my backyard. Actually a flock of deer complete with mother and babies. I am not especially tall. So the sight of mammals at above eye level is disconcerting to say the least. The ideal of a entire group of such animals was amazing.DEER IN BACKYARD I looked out my front window and just stared. The deer must not have spotted me for at least ten minutes. They gently nibbled on the vegetables my husband had planted and I stood there trying to imagine this scene in Brooklyn. A little while later the silence was broken. I may have moved suddenly and the deer may noticed it. The momma deer looked me in the eye with her sad, sweet eyes, made a soft sound somewhere in her throat and then signaled her flock to follow. I watched as they all hopped my fence one by one, carefully avoiding the bits of honeysuckle that my husband had planted there and realizing how much I had grown to love this place where my backyard wasn’t just mine but for the wildlife as well.

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