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Back yard is full of entertaining creatures

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Snakes, squirrels, crows and skunks in back yard all bring joy to wildlife observer

We all can think of many annoyances we didn't have to deal with when we moved to this area, such as horrific traffic and now, snow! So I try to think positively while I'm waiting to be able to navigate the streets again, hopefully in the near future.

This morning, a V-shape of Canada geese flew over, not far from my condo and once again, I said to myself how beautiful the sight was. At one point last year, I was in my yard when a huge flock of these chattering birds flew over, so low that the flap of their wings ruffled my hair. It was thrilling, to say the least.

A few years ago, I had a family of five skunks under my deck. They never sprayed and I wouldn't have known they were there except for the evening when, looking out my slider door, I saw the mother with four little ones dancing around her, all their tails straight up in the air - a beautiful sight! When they caught sight of me, they ran underneath the deck and eventually, I had them removed.

Living this close to wildlife is usually a joyful experience, though I've had my share of mice and ants and, believe me, they are not included in any sentence in which the word JOY appears. I put out seeds and dried corncobs for all the little brown birds, for example, towhees, juncos, sparrows, chickadees, finches, and also squirrels.

Other denizens of my garden include a black garter snake with a white stripe down his back and a plain brown one, one flicker, two white moths, two bumble bees, and more and more honey bees, thank God. My old humming bird feeder keeps two resident hummers fed all year round.

My favorite denizens are the crows. For most of last year, I bought chicken scraps from the neighborhood butchers and put it on a little table in my front yard. Three or four crows would always come and devour it, and sometimes several more. Often they were raucous, but would mostly eat and run.

At some point, I decided to put the scraps on a backyard table, for it would be easier for me but they wouldn't go to the scraps in the back yard! I know they are very intelligent but didn't understand how stubborn they are. I'm still in the process of trying to get them to come back, so know I'll have to put the scraps back on the front table.

Not long ago, crows held a "roost" in an old fir tree on Fischer Road. I could see it from my back yard, and as far as I can ascertain, no one knows why they do this. Hundreds gathered, yakking away, coming and going. I think it's a friendly get-together to share information about places to find food and, like any other grouping, it's a time of frivolity, time to check out the guys and gals, and other pleasantries.

If the crows keep ignoring me, I'll be happy to have my squirrels befriend me - one beautiful silver one and two brown ones. Life is so much more meaningful when these funny, bright creatures accept my friendly overtures.

Liz Schenk lives in King City.