I moved up to the mountains not so very long ago and, in the fullness of time, spring came tripping over the threshold. Along about April I generally fill the hummingbird feeder and mount it on a pole.
This year I figgered it was kinda useless trying to attract hummingbirds. I'm fairly high up.
|Less appealing than Australian possums
I'm a dreamer at heart, so I set out the nectar.
I called them and they came.
Beautiful humming birds were weaving back and forth in the air a half hour after I offered them a place to feed. Lovely colors. So magical. So amazing.
Then there's my possum.
He doesn't show up as much since I stopped waking up in the morning, shivering, stoking the woodstove, and opening the door to scatter two handfuls of seed out across the top of the snow for the birds up here.
All this before I got a cup of coffee.
There are those who advocate arising with the dawn and sitting down at the computer while the trailing mists of dreams still linger in the mind. Somehow I never seem to manage this.Mary Jo appreciates hummingbirds. And cats. She says:
another animal lover who always stops and holds my breath when I see a
graceful deer behind my house, even if it’s munching my shrubs.
<G> I love watching hummingbirds and never cease to be amazed at
how fast chipmunks can move with those little short legs. I sort of
like squirrels, but that’s tempered
by the fact they made me give
up feeding the birds because the little sneaks totally defeated my
But most of all, I love cats. I was raised with them, and we generally averaged about five when I was growing up. I love their warmth, their grace, their purrs, and their highly individual personalities.
|Grady the GrayGuy and PandaMax
I currently have four cats, all rescues. Sometimes it seems like more than that. <G> But I love them all, even Lacey, aka “Miss Crankypants,” whose temper has not improved with age. And then there’s Reggie the Rascal, a young souled feline who eats dry food too fast, then barfs it up virtually unprocessed. He also pounces on all the other cats. But he’s friendly and has an amazing purr.
Here’s a picture of Grady the Gray Guy,
my senior tom, and the newest addition to the family, PandaMax, the big
black and white cat. Panda lived rough for a couple of years, so he’s
extremely food insecure, which means he wants to eat all the time.
Despite his size and rather thug-like look, he’s actually very friendly
and rather timid.
Now that PandaMax has adjusted to life at my house, he’s a great lap cat. He oozes up over the back of the armrest of the loveseat, then become a slow motion avalanche of black and white fur as he settles on my lap. Apart from an unfortunate trouble with boundaries—that is, he has trouble distinguishing between HIS food and MY food—he’s a complete sweetheart.
|Lorikeet, probably screeching
Sadly there are no animals living at my house at the moment. I haven't yet felt able to get another dog, since my Chloe died, and it feels very strange, because I've had animals all my life.
Still, I'm lucky because even though I live close in to the city in a fairly densely-built neighborhood, I can engage with some wildlife.
the mornings I wake to birdsong — my two favorites are magpies, with
their joyous carolling to the morning sun, and rainbow lorikeets, just
as joyous but not quite so melodious. The lorikeets chortle and chatter
and screech. I love them, not just because they're so pretty, but
because they're so exuberant and playful as they swoop and dart and then
hang upside-down in a tree feeding off nectar or fruit. There are
plenty of other birds, but those are my favorites.
I also have a family of shy little skinks — tiny coppery-skinned lizards that live in the rocks and leaf litter under the lilly-pilly tree in my back yard. They come out to sunbathe and when I go outside they either freeze and pretend to be a stick, or whisk themselves back into some tiny crevasse.
As well, in the big gum tree out the front lives a brush-tailed possum. I don't often see it, but A few weeks ago I saw its silhouette against the night sky and thought it might have a baby on its back. Our possums carry babies in the pouch (like kangaroos and koalas) and when the babies get big enough, they ride on their mother's back.
Joanna here, just adding that the Australian possum is not at all like American possums. Wholly different species. The Australians got the pretty ones.
Pat's another author surrounded by the wild:
|Not actually Pat's turkeys
Pat says: Like Anne, I have no animals inside my house. We lost our aging peke-a-poo just before we moved to North Carolina and knowing we'd be moving again and again, we haven't tried to replace him.
That doesn't mean we don't have animals in our lives! Sometimes, I could use a few less. Although our birds aren't as colorful as Anne's, Missouri is on the migration route for most midwestern birds, so we can have everything from tanagers to goldfinches feasting at our feeders.
We've had turkeys and geese nesting in the bushes. Cardinals populate the trees all year around. And all winter long I can watch squirrel acrobatics as the little darlings attempt to raid our squirrel-proof feeders!
Chipmunks natter from the patio and moles...sigh, we will not go into moles. Or deer. We've had beautiful twin fawns napping in the warmth of our garden wall. I'm quite certain they came back to nip our rose buds and hostas a few months later. In spring, we have a frog in our pond and a box turtle that waddles through our periwinkle.
Now, Nicola has foxes.
I'm jealous. I know I must have foxes round about, but I never see them.
Nicola says: Living where we do in the middle of the English countryside, we’re surrounded by wildlife, from the herds of fallow deer that graze in the fields behind the house to the foxes, badgers and hedgehogs we glimpse at night. During the spring one of my favourite sights is the hares boxing and playing together, living up to their reputation for madness.Then there are the birds. My favourites are the red kites I frequently glimpse from the window when I am writing. They are magnificent. In the 18th century they scavenged for food in the cities but they died out in England and were re-introduced last century. Now they are birds of the countryside. And often in the dusk we have the barn owls gliding low over the fields and sometimes flying straight down our lane, silent and deadly on the hunt.
Curiously for someone who loves animals I seldom feature them in my books although there was a gorgeous Labrador-type dog called Sal for Salamanca in one of my early books. Usually the animals just have a walk on part."
Jo says: I'm not a pet person, but I enjoy wildlife, especially birds and the better sort of insect. We have plenty of both here in Devon, but I do miss hummingbirds. They're tough little critters. It used to be amazing to watch them feeding during a winter storm in Victoria, with the feeder swaying in the wind. But they managed. In very cold weather we used to bring the feeder in a few times a day to warm it up for them.
They love scarlet runner beans. My sister from England was amazed and delighted when they'd come to feed nearby as she was picking beans. They never seem to be the slightest bit afraid of people. One terrified a visiting German lad by getting right in his face for some reason, warning him away.
Alas, I can't include them in books as there are none over here.
Do you have wild (or otherwise) animals in your life that amaze you and lift your spirit?
Do you like to see animals turn up in Romance books?