Turkeys and squirrels and skunks (oh my)


Are there animals that create a response when you see them in your yard?

Good or bad, there you are looking out a window, and suddenly you spot something. Birds. Raccoon. Deer. And instead of a passing moment, the appearance raises your attention level and interest.

For the past few weeks, Terry and I have been smiling and laughing as a group of turkeys has wandered around. We’ve seen them in the mornings and evenings, on several different days. Seven of them, for lack of a better understanding of what they’re doing, just out and about and crossing our yard.

Until this morning.

Today, when I look outside I spotted six. Hmm. Only six? Oh wait, there’s the seventh. And an eighth… and a ninth… and then a tenth.

Ten turkeys in our yard.

For the most part, I would explain our reaction to the turkeys as amused. I think that works. I can’t say for certain I’d miss them if they didn’t come around, since the reality is I don’t think much about them when they aren’t there. I’m absolutely not bothered by them being there. Seven… ten… could be thirty or more and I think my strongest reaction would eventually be grabbing a camera to get some pictures of two or three dozen turkeys in my yard. But I am spending time watching them.

In the trees around our property—and even a handful of times perched on a fence—we’ve seen some hawks. Even viewed a couple of bald eagles. That was pretty cool.

We get a lot of wildlife in and around our yard. And, honestly, it generates everything from smiles to shoulder shrugs. And my guess is that your reactions are quite similar. The extremes… especially bad… end up being a result of personal experiences and potential threats. For instance…


Last summer I began noticing some small holes around our yard. Not really huge holes, but definitely too big for the birds that were eating from the feeders we had in the yard. One overnight, around 2am, for reasons I can’t recall I was in the garage and preparing to step out into the backyard. We have a door with a window, and I flipped the switch for the light. As I was unlocking the door, a bit of motion on the other side of the window caught my eye, and… yes… skunk. Likely turned out to be a very good thing that I didn’t just open the door and step outside.

The spotting of the skunk set off a chain reaction of activity for us. I don’t personally wish anything bad for any animal. But I do not want a skunk taking up residence under my deck. I began sealing up some access points to things like the shed, and we ended up taking in all of the bird seed so the feeders wouldn’t be enticing the skunk (or skunky friends) to stop in for a meal.

Another friend of ours has a miserable time with squirrels. Lots of trees around his house. LOTS of trees. Tall and big and perfect for squirrels at play. Growing all around his property and right next to the house. This of course means that those lovely and inquisitive creatures often end up on the roof. Finding weak spots. Once or twice a year, regardless of how much he cuts back branches and works on keeping the roof protected, he ends up hearing the familiar scratches and paw patter overhead.

As I stand with a cup of coffee in my hand and a rafter of turkeys in my yard, I wonder…

What animals have I seen in my yard, and why do I react differently to each one? What makes it so that a squirrel barely registers a response for me while a friend of mine would be mapping out battle plans? And what would I do if I ever did see a moose at my house?

For now, I’m just getting ready to take a walk around. Make sure there aren’t any bees looking to establish a residence… think about putting some feeders back out before the winter arrives… check the nearby paths for deer prints left in the mud. Because overall, nature is a pretty cool thing to experience.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com