The past few days have reminded me of that television show many of us watched every Sunday evening when we were kids: ‘Wild Kingdom.” Only none of this was on TV.
Last Thursday while weeding the flower bed along the front porch I put the back of my hand against a real, live rattlesnake. The snake moved, I think to coil, but never rattled. I sprung back off my feet and when I landed I was a several feet back. (I later found my sunglasses against the barn even farther away.)
Thursday one of my son’s speech therapists, Ally, and I took Harrison fishing at a pond on a nearby neighbor’s ranch. As we were setting up the fishing rod, we heard flapping and screeching, and looked skyward to see two golden eagles attacking a blue heron. The eagles knocked the heron to the ground on the bank opposite us. As they dove, the heron flopped over into the water. I thought for sure the heron was mortally wounded. I waved my arms and yelled at the eagles and they reluctantly gave up the hunt. The heron flew a few feet and settled back in the water along the bank. Then a few moments later it took flight and winged away.
Early Friday morning I woke up to the sound of an alarmed chicken. I walked outside and caught a coyote chasing one of my hens in the front yard. My dog Sam zoomed out the door and chased the coyote away, but then the coyote spun around and attacked Sam.
Sam backed off and the coyote ran in the opposite direction. Sam once again chased (all the while I was yelling at my dog to stop but he was practicing selective hearing). The snarling coyote once again turned and charged the dog. This went on about four times before I headed up to haze the coyote away. It was last seen galloping across the pasture. All chickens have been accounted for.
Recently I found a dead pigeon along the side of the road in a neighboring subdivision where I often run. The bird seemed large and was brilliantly colored. I turned it over and found a deep cut just above the breast. I turned around and looked up — power lines. Obviously the bird had flown right into a wire.
But the real mystery remained: What’s a pigeon doing up here in the Wet Mountains? I went home and did a little research, finding a description of the wild bandtailed pigeon on the Internet. The next day I ran back over and checked the bird again. Sure enough, it had orange legs, and an orange beak with a black tip. The dead pigeon was a wild bandtail.