June 10, 2014

Animal Encounters

Saturday morning I met a baby magpie that most likely had fallen out (or been pushed out, I have seen on nature documentaries how tough it can be) of a nest that´s been in a birch here since before I moved here, 23 years ago. I don´t suppose it is the same magpie couple, they must take over abandoned nests. It is quite a construction, with a very good roof over it. I felt sorry for the little fellow, but I was firmly taught never to interfere with nature, as there might be a parent somewhere actually caring for it. One quite often sees large, almost adult, fledgelings on the lawn, being fed by parents. I have never seen such a little magpie on the ground, though.

 It made me think about some other animal encounters I have had over the years. This year I have yet to see a hedgehog, they seem all disappeared since the landlord has started re-draining the house foundations. Perhaps that is where they dig down to spend the winter in hybernation, I don´t know. I just notice they are gone. Last year I saved a hedgehog who got his head stuck in a milkshake mug. Only the week after I found the magpies feasting by the side of the road and I thought someone had thrown away another fast-food meal, but it was the hedgehog they were eating - he had been run over by a car.

One summer, I was followed every morning for a couple of weeks by a pair of ducks. They seemed to think that my cart resembled their mum or something.

And one winter, I locked eyes with a fox for some 30 seconds (which is a long time staring at anyone who is staring back), and I could then see his tracks on the new-fallen snow preceding me all the way home. That was cool, and my only fox encounter.

Also, there were the elks, I got pretty excited by them. But it takes a very snowy winter to drive them into the town, looking for something to eat. I remember people being very reckless, going much too close. Elks are huge and deadly dangerous, not unlike bears, which people also have no respect of. People think they look cute, so they must be kind also. I blame Disney.


  1. We've had some fun animal encounters over the years, too. No bears, but some deadly snakes. I blame Bambi (Salton's book & Disney's movie) for people thinking of all wildlife as cute and friendly. I remember reading Thornton Burgess' books when I was young. You do have to be able to distinguish reality from fantasy. How hard is that. Apparently harder than I thought if people are trying to make friends with bears!

    1. Deadly snakes! We don´t have any of those, thank god. The one poisonous snake we have is about as dangerous as a bee.

      I absolutely agree with you about fantasy and reality. It has always surprised me that even those much used to animals seem to project all kinds of human thoughts, needs, and feelings on them. As a result, I see a lot of animals, particularly dogs, not getting the kind of care they need. They are not mini-humans!