14 January 2012

Gone Wild

One thing I love about Toronto is all the green. This is a city of trees, parks and gardens as much as of concrete and steel. No surprise that we have plenty of wildlife as well. I like to think I've made my yard welcoming to the critters and they seem to agree, making themselves at home year round. Every so often we have some particularly fun encounters. The other day we watched as a hawk (or maybe a falcon--I suck at IDing birds) swooped into the tree overlooking the yard. He surveyed the place for awhile (not long enough to grab the camera, I'm sorry to say) before leaving again. As soon as he left and we went outside, all the little birds that hang out in the yard took off and flew to the hedges. Poor things must have been terrified seeing that bird of prey. But it was pretty cool for us.

Yesterday I was surprised to open the door to check for mail and found our snow-covered newspaper adorned with a set of birdie footprints. You can see them leading up to the paper on our doorstep:

And then on the paper itself. Somebody hopped right on up to the door (I guess they took the welcome mat to heart)! This is why we're afraid every time the cats wander near an open door. Even perfectly content house kitties can't be expected to resist the thrill of chasing birds (and squirrels) this bold...

Last week I also discovered what seems to be a den in the far corner of our backyard. It might look like a mess but it's definitely not a random pile of branches (especially since these are the only fallen branches in the yard). The pile encompasses a hollow tree stump too--could be quite a cozy little bed for someone:

I wasn't sure what kind of animal might live in this sort of nest but after seeing footprints leading to and from it I'm guessing a small raccoon has made this home. What do you think?

UPDATE: I just found out that raccoons have five toes so now I'm completely at a loss as to what kind of wildlife this might be. It's too large to be a squirrel. Ideas anyone?

Photos by Domicile (click to enlarge)

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