Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pepe Joins us for Lunch

While grilling our trout for lunch today, I looked down at our brook and saw a skunk sunning himself by some rocks.  He was there for a long time, grooming himself, and then started to come up the bank towards the backyard.   I threw a small piece of trout down on the rocks and he went for it immediately.   After the fish was cooked I gave him the cooked skin.   He probably thought he died and went to heaven after having such a nice lunch!!

Striped skunks mate in February and early March. Females give birth in May, often in woodchuck burrows, to an average litter of six. It is not unusual to see a female skunk with a line of little black and white copies following her across a damp pasture or lawn on an early July morning.
Skunks forage at night or at dawn for a variety of foods including berries, grasses, nuts and other vegetable material, as well as worms, insects, grubs and the nestlings of birds, mice and cottontail rabbits. They also prey on woodchucks and other young animals in burrows. Skunks often leave holes in the ground where they forage for insects or tear apart ground nests of small animals.
Although skunks retreat to winter dens and remain inactive for extended periods, they do not hibernate. Males in particular are likely to be active above ground periodically. They may be active even during cold weather, especially during the breeding season.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Turkey Vulture

We had 4 turkey vultures in our trees yesterday.  Not a very attractive looking bird!

These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are a consummate scavenger, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads.

Turkey Vultures nest in rock crevices, caves, ledges, thickets, mammal burrows and hollow logs, fallen trees, abandoned hawk or heron nests, and abandoned buildings. These nest sites are typically much cooler (by 13°F or more) than surroundings, and isolated from human traffic or disturbance. While they often feed near humans, Turkey Vultures prefer to nest far away from civilization.