I am fortunate to live on a quiet property which attracts many interesting birds. There are so many I can’t identify, but I often see cardinals, blue jays, hawks, and blackbirds. I was even given a bird guide and binoculars by guests who were amazed at the level of bird sightings. I have visions of myself in my retirement cracking open the bird guide on a backyard identification field trip with my binoculars. One fall morning, I was shaving and I heard what sounded like a jet engine directly overhead. What the f*&k? I went downstairs and was about to open the sliders to the deck only to find what resembled a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds. Where was Tippi Hedren? Have I brought this chaos to East Hampton? Wasn’t Tippi (at least her character) from northern California? I grew up in north Jersey! The blackbirds were carpeting my lawn, deck, and nesting in the trees and shrubs. It was surreal and was one of the scariest things I have experienced – of course I was home alone at the time. Why didn’t someone tell me that birds used my property as a migratory “rest stop?” This was not disclosed in the Allan Schneider real estate listing. After about 15 minutes of crowing, flapping (and resting), the birds left in a loud whoosh which was audible even with all the windows closed! I have experienced this same phenomenon twice more and have now come to look forward to the birds gracing my property to say a brief hello before they move on.
Insects (tell me when to stop…)
Shortly after I moved in, I began to see these holes in the cedar siding. I heard loud buzzing insects – louder than I had ever heard back in the civilized world. I then saw these hovering Mothra-sized bees; extremely large, black buzzing beasts – and boring holes in my siding! Could they penetrate into my drywall? Do Bellringer or Scan have house alarms for Carpenter Bees? Every May, these bees come to my home and find places to lay their eggs while creating pock marks in my finished cedar siding. Let’s not forget the black ants, jumping spider crickets, large rather energetic spiders, chiggers and unfortunately ticks. I am thankful for my pest control company.
A few years ago, I received a call from my landscaper who told me most of my front lawn was turned over. Could this be vandalism? The East Hampton Town Police opened an investigation. Who would do this? It turns out the culprits were packs of raccoons in search of grubs. After the second year of a ripped up lawn, and paying for, ahem, grub control, I decided the lawn company needed to go and I needed to find a trapper. In short order, the perpetrators were captured in cages lined with popcorn, peanut butter, chicken, etc. I was relieved to learn that the trapped rascals were relocated. I imagined them ripping up grass in the wild, to their hearts content. But upon further inquiry, I learned “relocated” was not to the woods but to more of a permanent relocation place…
It’s 9AM as I write, and the deer are making their morning rounds, circling the perimeter of my deer fence. Why do they take this daily route – can’t they walk elsewhere? Do they want me to know they are watching, or are they just curious? In the winter, the deer often blow through my deer fence prancing about in the snow, and chowing down on “deer resistant” landscaping. But how could they clear the deer fence? Beware of contractors who sell you an eight foot deer fence with one foot underground and seven feet above grade.
I’ve come to think of my home as a sort of tamed woods. Where would we be without all this wonderful wildlife? Yes, we tame our woods to keep creatures at bay. But wildlife is here with us, be it squirrels, chipmunks building sub-terrainean fortresses beneath lush green lawns, or foxes, possums or the ever staring, chomping rabbits. I have come to accept and respect these sentry creatures, keeping watch outdoors.
Be a good East Ender and be mindful of a turtle crossing the road.
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