Hard Times for Little Animals

We spotted the remains of a fawn kill – most likely by a coyote.  On one hand, the tall grass has provided a better spot for the does to leave the fawns, and on the other hand, our resident coyote is new to the area – the old, macho coyote and his one-eyed mate aren’t here any more, and the youngster isn’t so confident.  We may wind up with better fawn survival than last year (there were a lot of leg bones with tiny hooves).  As rainy as things have been, the haying season will be a little later this year, and safer for the fawns.

Turtles are still active in the egg-laying business.  They get a long way from water, and those eggs have a 67 to 75 day incubation time.  Call it 10 weeks for easy calculation – the turtle hatchlings will be trying to get back to water between the first and the middle of September.  I hadn’t looked at the data to realize just how much our late Spring and early Fall serves as a limit on turtles – but I’ve been looking for the hatchlings too early.

The island in the pond makes for safe nesting for the lesser Canada geese, mallards, goldeneyes, and ruddy ducks.  The coots haven’t figured it out, so it looks like their nesting has failed.  To be fair, as much as I like coots, they aren’t anywhere close to the smartest of birds.

Nor are they particularly good at getting airborne.  I’m reminded that they are no type of duck – looking more like a chicken when they walk, and genetically closer to the Sandhills crane. 

The raven predation on the turkey hatchlings seems to be less than last year – last year, we had two turkey hens together protecting the single surviving hatchling.  This year, it looks like we’re back to large flocks, but fewer ravens.  The red-wing blackbird continues to harass any raven that dares fly over his pond.

We have several feral cats hunting by the house – there is the argument that feral cats are rough on the bird population, but the other argument is that they are rough on the rodent population.

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