By Alkali Springs Correspondent
Lately, even with colder weather in the beautiful Bear Paws around our shack, the animal activity has been really stepped up and is more active than we have ever seen it before.
Consider the rabbits and magpies.
There is a huge nest of rabbits that live right under our living room. Under the floor there is about a three-foot high crawl space and it can be accessed by small animals by crawling through vent shafts made of cement blocks. We were always going to seal those vent shafts off because one thing we dread is crawling around that crawl space looking for something and finding that a snake has decided to make that home.
All that was before the rabbits. They are tiny rabbits with puffball tails and there must be five or six who have lived there for a couple of years now. They seem to like all the activity at the bird feeder outside of the living room window and they particularly like to chow down on the block of pheasant food that is on the ground there. What we have noticed that in the colder weather, those rabbits seem to be warm and cozy under the house and when they come outside, they seem to be so happy that they cavort around the feeding area with each other and actually seem to be doing back flips and handstands. We wonder if they know that we are watching their antics? They certainly brighten long winter days when we are at the cabin.
Not only that, but we have, along with the blue jay, many hairy and downy woodpeckers, along with many chickadees and a couple of magpies. They fly in maybe once or twice a day and eat a few sunflower seeds and quickly leave again. They are frightened to stay too long, and we guess that is good for having a gaggle of magpies is probably not the best of all worlds.
But the strangest of all things was early one morning before dawn when we were heading to town. We got outside and were trying to guide ourselves down a dark path when all of a sudden just a few feet away (or so it seemed), came a shrill whistle, much like calling a dog, then a wild coyote cant, and then the "who, who, who" of an owl. Then all this happened again and again and again. Now we knew we were alone except for animals and our dog was going crazy with the strange sounds. Only thing we can liken it to is someone playing a tape of wild kingdom sounds, except that even yet we are puzzled by what would be whistling just like a human calling a dog at 6 a.m. on a cold, snowy morn.
For those of you who believe in such things, the chickadees have changed their song from a "dee...dee...dee" to the sound of a doorbell ringing. That song is said by old-timers to be the Chickadees saying, "Spring's here...Spring's here!" Only thing is that other old-timers say that hearing it this early, well, those chickadees lie sometimes!