Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

October 8, 2015

Epic Is An Understatement

Hi everyone who steps into the world of Rob and the Animals!

I'm jumping right in on this blog... short version of what may or may not be a long story here is recently we were contacted by The Owl Foundation about the possibility of releasing a couple juvenile Great Horned Owls. One of which I had met back on March 1st when I brought him down there after a short stay at Toronto Wildlife Centre. Someone had found him on the ground far below his home some 60+ feet up a tree. Attempts were made to get him home safely, but that wasn't possible due to the height of the nest. So arrangements were made to get him down to The Owl Foundation and introduce him to "Big Red" who is an amazing foster mom Great Horned.

The baby

Big Red

As you can imagine, all went according to plan, from getting him down there, the introduction and some months of him being raised by Big Red, learning how to be an Owl, or better put to be an independent wild Owl. It still blows my mind that these permanent residents at The Owl Foundation, who all are still wild Owls now in captivity due to their injuries, are fostering Owls of the same species and giving them a second chance at a wild life of their own somewhere in the future. Note, residents at The Owl Foundation have very little human interaction. Most monitoring is done with cameras.

So to be in the first part of this bird's life, helping him get to the help he needed was an honour. Now to be a part of the next chapter, getting him back to the wild, well, "epic" is an understatement. I'm sure my statement there can be mirrored by his finder.

We had planned for sometime over the weekend of October 3 and 4th, weather pending. As of Friday the weather was looking decent. By Saturday morning we had another story which was cool, cloudy, damp and windy. Not ideal conditions for release, especially those winds. Angie had been in contact with the finder and we kept our hopes up the release was going to be sooner than later. All of us were quite anxious to be a part of this. The weekend passed without a release as the weather never improved.

Monday arrived and finally the weather turned for the better. It still wasn't quite what they had predicted 12 hours earlier but it wasn't nearly as windy or wet.

Thanks to my new temporary shift at work, I ended up having Monday off and was able to play a part in this as planned. It sucked that Angie couldn't do the drive with me down. I left early in the afternoon, tunes cranked and my mind was wandering with how this day was going to play out.

I was at TOF in record time. Stacy met me in front of the house with a volunteer and away we went. First off was to catch the 2 Owls for release. Stacy went to it in the large enclosure and sure made it look very easy. First up was the High Park "kid".

What a face!

She asked if I would like to help with the banding of the bird. I said "yes". Really I don't do a whole lot except hold the Owl while she does all the work. But what a thrill to hold such a bird! Obviously the Owl did not like us nor what we were doing to him. Thank goodness for gloves as he got my fingers in his talons more than a couple times. If you look at the above photo, you can see he is wrapped up in a blanket of sorts (more like a straight jacket) both for his protection and ours. Everything goes much smoother with a patient who co-operates or is unable to put up a fight. I was thrilled at this opportunity but also a little intimidated because these are powerful birds. I wasn't afraid of getting hurt but afraid of hurting him even as contained as he was. It was a very new experience to me. I kept thinking about the Screech Owl I helped back in the Spring, so much easier to work with even if his hatred to me matched this Great Horned.

No photos were taken of me with the Great Horned since Angie was not there and I forgot to ask someone to snap one. Ah well, the memory will be with me for a very long time.

After a weigh in, wing measurements, banding, etc. he was put in a carrier.

Next up was "Blondie". A feisty young female from the Vaughan area. This was one beautiful but nasty snarly bird chocked full of ferocity and attitude! She hissed and clicked at us, voicing her disapproval to everything. I opted out of helping with her because I knew the whole process would probably take much longer to do with me, and I feared one of us getting hurt due to my inexperience. I know well enough that no one at TOF would let that happen. But in my head, if I am not completely comfortable with it, best not do it. I got a taste of how it's done so I was happy.

You can see why she was nicknamed "Blondie". Look how light in color she is!

You can see she wasn't keen on us and all that was happening.

Just sit back and relax.

Look at those feet!

Weigh in time.

Some measurements being done.

I bet after this she never wants to see another human being again in her life.

After she was done, she too was loaded up in a carrier and soon after I was on my way back to Toronto.

I had been keeping in touch with Angie as well as Gray who is the finder of the High Park "kid". Basically keeping them up to date on where I was, time schedules and so on. Everything was going according to plan, well almost everything, except that Angie could not join us. Disappointing to Gray and I, but it is what it is, life gets in the way at times. Our good friends Jim and Lynda were meeting us at the release location and they too were disappointed with Angie missing this.

The four of us meet on time, I grabbed the carrier and we went for a walk. Dusk was approaching, the evening was mild and we found a spot which seemed suitable for the release, and it was quiet (meaning lack of people). I talk about how I am going to release the Owl from his carrier, something I had explained to me earlier at The Owl Foundation. The door to the carrier isn't exactly wide enough for the bird to come out of. I have to take the whole top of the carrier off, and while I do, I must ensure I am still holding the metal cage door as well otherwise it may fall back and hit the bird. It probably wouldn't harm the Owl but certainly would add a lot of stress.

Having set the carrier down, I am unlocking all the latches.

Now I am slowly lifting the top of the carrier off, ensuring I have a good hold on the door.

Carrier top and door are almost off, and everyone gasped at this moment, first sight of the Owl.

Nobody stood in front of the Owl. We corralled some 6 ft back from him and watched.

He sat and watched us too in between scoping the surroundings.

The Owl did not fly off immediately. He must have sat there for 10 minutes but it sure felt longer. The wait and wonder on when he was going to fly consumed us. We enjoyed seeing him at such a close range but the anticipation on when he would fly was overwhelming. And then, out of the blue, people started coming through the park area from all different directions... some with dogs, a few with off leash dogs! My main focus was on the bird and his well being. I commend my friends on taking care of the people and especially the off leash dogs. I really only remember Lynda at this moment, halting a guy with a rather large Rottweiller type dog not on leash who was watching us some 50 ft off. Lynda may be small but don't let that fool you, when it's something she's passionate about... look out! Thankfully we did not have to see her fiery side come out. Everyone who chanced upon us was great, co-operating, standing well back and watched or hustled along quickly. I was bewildered by those who hustled off. This was something most of us have never seen, nor would ever again (slim chance). Oh well.

Then, suddenly the Owl took flight. He flew across the stretch of field to the edge of the wood lot, gaining height, and finding a branch to sit on and take in his surroundings. His actions did not go unnoticed by other inhabitants of the forest, some 5 or 6 Blue Jays voiced their disapproval and even took a few swats at him.

The Owl stood his ground with the attacks and eventually the Blue Jays gave up and left.

Moments later the Owl left this branch and went deeper into the woods.

He landed in another tree deeper in.

I'm sure we all wished him the best of luck in his new life and we left the area, headed for our rides, said our "goodbyes" and away we went. Everyone headed home while I had "Blondie" still waiting for me in the truck. She hissed upon my entry into the GMC (the carriers are in the back of the SUV).

It was almost dark now, and I knew where I was going, so I wasted no time in getting there. I brought a flashlight with me just in case. What I wished I had with me upon getting to the next release site was bug repellent as the mosquitoes were brutal! Who would have thought on October 5th that those buggers would be an issue?

I grabbed the carrier as gently as I could, walking her to the release site like I was carrying a time bomb. Blondie still hissed and even thrashed about a few times within. As I worked to remove the lid of this carrier, she fought, pushing hard to open it. Smart bird! I barely had it off when she jumped out onto the ground, stretched her wings, turned to look at me for a split second and then took flight. She landed in a nearby tree for not much more than a couple minutes, surveying the area, and then took off again. It was like this bird knew exactly where she was going. Crazy!

Serious tweaking of the manual settings to capture this crap record shot of Blondie just before she took off into the darkness.

Wow! Epic! I will refrain from some blue collar terms I have playing in my head right now. LoL!

Here I am earlier in the adventure, this is my happy face. I'm told it can be seen in my eyes.

I am very thankful we have such wildlife places like Toronto Wildlife and The Owl Foundation. I can't imagine our area, heck even the province, without them. I'm sure thousands of animals are too in their own way. I am proud to volunteer with them where I can, no matter what it is I can do to help them, to help wildlife. I always tell people there are so many ways to help from donations of money to items they use regularly (check their wish lists) or sign on as a volunteer be it for driving, in house cleaning and care, fund raising and so on.

The glow from the Owl releases had me go to bed grinning, dreaming of Owls, and the next afternoon I went for a walk near our home in hopes of spotting one I see semi-regularly who I have named Grace. I hadn't seen her since September 16th. I found her on this afternoon just chilling out. I hope the two I released the night before are somewhere enjoying their wild and free lives high atop the trees.

September 29, 2015

One Year as a TWC Volunteer!

Sunday September 27, 2015 marked my one year anniversary of being an official volunteer emergency driver with Toronto Wildlife. I had actually signed on a week or so earlier but Sept 27, 2014 was my first drive for them.

I know I had blogged about it, but to recap, it was to pick up an injured Cooper's Hawk from Mississauga Animal Services that someone had found. On route to MAS, I was asked if I could pick up a small Virginia Opossum minutes from our home, it was laying on a sidewalk, under a box with a brick over top. I met an elderly woman named Marion, who made the call about the 'Possum, and I still bump into now and then since we live so close to each other. Marion thinks I have very cool hair! LoL! Unfortunately neither animal got a second chance at a wild life. The Opossum was hit by a car and his injuries were too severe. The Cooper's Hawk was a starving young bird, too far gone at this point. Both creatures met a peaceful ending after thorough examinations and decisions made on what was best for the animals.

It has been quite a year driving for wildlife. In these 12 months I have done 42 drives. 16 drives bringing a total of 27 animals into the centre for medical help. 26 drives out of the centre and helping 90 animals find their way back home, getting a second chance at a wild life. That's almost 1 drive a week. It was either feast or famine for my volunteering. Some weeks I did 2 or 3 drives. Some times I went 4 or 5 weeks without doing a drive. Those long lulls in between are why I tell people I don't think I am doing enough. But friends remind me that is not the case. I do a lot, not just for TWC, add the Owl Foundation, Peregrine Falcon fledge watches and just my own care/concern for all creatures that come to our backyard or I see in my outings. Dumpster diving for Raccoons. Chasing Coyotes off the road in the middle of the night. And so on.

I'm not bragging about this. I don't call myself a hero. I love animals and being able to help them any way I can is an honor.

I have met a lot of great people through this volunteering gig. I've made new friends too. It's amazing the friendships built because of the birds (and other wildlife). So many people Angie and I now call friends, we would never have met, if not for the love of birds.

I should link some of my blogs about the drives I have done. Some great stories in there, so I think anyway.

How helping wildlife really helped me not too long ago. See here.

I really love this one about a little American Goldfinch that I got to take back home (to his home). See here.

A Red-tailed Hawk who got a second chance at life. See here.

The first blog since volunteering last year. See here.

Some stories stick out more than others. I had to help find a flock of Robins in the fall of 2014, so a young Robin could be set free, and follow them through the winter. A friend of mine gave me his reports of Robins in the area which really helped. So when this one was set free, seeing him join the other Robins and fly off into the woods was amazing. The Goldfinch one I linked is another special tale. The Pigeon releases are always great because it's another one of finding their flock, waiting for them to leave the confines of the carrier which can take a very long time and seeing them reunite with their buddies. It makes me think of my Pigeon pals that visit me at home. I helped a male Northern Cardinal go home once, which was awesome because Cardinals are so special to me. I've admired this species of bird for as long as I can think back. So many to reflect back on. I silently wish every animal I release the best of luck on their journey.

All animals I bring in, I do my best to keep tabs on them. It's sad how many do not make it. But animals have a great ability to hide injuries and illness until they are too far gone.

I've logged all my drives for fun. Looking back, I can remember most of them with ease. I will continue this with all future work. I don't "tick" species, I just do what needs to be done for what ever needs help when I am available.

Here are a few photos of wildlife that stuck around after release. I don't chase anything for a shot; they've been through enough already. If they linger, I will try for photos at a distance (perk of having a 500mm lens).

One of the links is about this Red-tailed Hawk.

The link about the Goldfinch is of this bird.

I was thrilled to send this Wood Thrush back on his migratory path last fall. I see few Wood Thrushes in my travels, but hear them often and it's one of my favorite songs.

As much as I try to direct release birds to trees and bushes, sometimes they pick peculiar places to stop and get their bearings.

An Ovenbird waving thanks and good bye before he disappears.

Many of the release birds are migratory songbirds, survivors of window collisions that the volunteers of FLAP find and rescue.

It was great Angie could join me on the one year date to release another 4 migratory birds. I guess I should have made a bigger deal of it? Angie joins me occasionally, when it works with her schedule, she blogged about another release not too long ago, see here. All fall releases of migratory birds are done west of Toronto. That is the direction they will head, along the lake shore, before they hit southbound at points like Pelee National Park. So helping them get out of our city, away from the skyscrapers, is a big help.

I look forward to year 2, and 3, and 4, and so on, and so on. I hope I am able to help for many years to come.

Me releasing a Northern Parula near Lake Ontario a few weeks ago.

September 26, 2015

Holy Hawks in September!

Crazy couple days here in the backyard! Thursday a Sharp-shinned Hawk showed up and hung out much of the day. She and the Blue Jays had a few good squabbles, lots of screaming, hitting and chasing. A Sharp-shinned Hawk is pretty much the same size as a Blue Jay hence the Jays not being afraid of such a predator. I'm sure if the Hawk gets lucky, she still could kill one of these mobbers, but so far that has not happened yet.

The predator

The protector. One of six.

All the other birds disappeared or hid deep in the cedars at the back. Even my Pigeon buds did not stick around for such a threat. They are too big for a Sharpie to take but they aren't chancing it. Did I ever blog about our Shirley Sharp-shin who did her best to take out a Pigeon the other year? It was intense and she almost succeeded. I think it's on that list of blogs to do.

Anyways, I'm looking at this Sharpie and am wondering if it is our Shirley returning for another season? This one is about as bold as her; or just really hungry?

I've been keeping my distance, letting the birds duke it out, letting her have a chance to eat, and just hoping she doesn't catch one of our Woodpeckers, Cardinals, etc. The unique visitors, the ones we have only a pair or two of. I always bet the Hawks will grab one of the species we have plenty of like House Sparrows or Starlings. She disappeared sometime in the afternoon and not seen the rest of the day.

Friday, shortly after sun up, we are out of bed, looking out the window to the back. I catch sight of one of the Skunks finding some last bits to munch on before turning in for the day. And who do I see on top of our bird feeder pole but this Sharp-shin!

Giving the term "bird feeder" a whole new meaning.

"What you looking at man?"

There was a good battle once again between the Hawk and Jays for well over an hour. The commotion spooked all the other birds away but seemed to bring the attention of another predator, a Cooper's Hawk. This bird came in and silenced the place. The Jays freaked right out but knew their place, as did the smaller Sharpie, and everyone fled. The Cooper's flew about the yard, from tree to tree, down to the shrubs, looking to flush something out for lunch. Wow!

First sight of this Cooper's in a tree just over the Holly bush. I stayed on the back deck, giving this bird it's space, and not wanting to spook it off.

Hanging under the bird feeder pole, scoping the Viburnums for hiding Sparrows. Love the tail on this heavily cropped shot.

The Cooper's made the rounds on potential hiding spots, had a sit at the back for a short bit and eventually went off elsewhere. I've yet to see this bird again since this moment. The Sharp-shinned did not come back for the rest of the day. Today, she is here once again wreaking havoc.

All my hand feeding Pigeons have come in today, which I am happy to report. Everyone has had a good feed from me and left right after. No one can ever tell me these are dumb birds.

Petey has found the safest spot out back!

All I can say is enjoy the birds, all of them, even those Hawks that too many I know despise and will chase and throw things at from their backyards. Hawks serve a great purpose, weeding out the birds. You know the term "only the strong survive". A Hawk has to eat too.


September 24, 2015

September With The Skunks

A highlight this September for us is seeing a pair of Skunks in odd hours, under better light conditions than the middle of the night in the darkness. Many morns and eves one or both have been spotted in the garden beneath the feeder pole. 7am and 7pm, give or take 15 minutes. How cool is that? Well, if you love nature and wildlife, you will agree.

No real story to tell here. They show up. We watch and enjoy the show. I sneak outside as quiet as I can be, find myself a position to hunker down in and try for photos and videos. The encounters get pretty close at times as they forage about, sometimes coming within 4 or 5 feet of me. I remain still and eventually they figure out I am there and back away.

Today one of them was out there up until about 7:45am. He was even chasing the Squirrels out of the feeding zone. Comical to see.

Here are a few photos from the last couple weeks of creatures many of us see only after dark.

Just before dark.

Seems someone else likes to watch them too!  Normally I chase all cats out of the backyard, but for this moment, I sat back and watched, curious what would happen.  The cat wandered off after about 10 minutes or so.

Pausing to look at his friend the Frog, whom he sees every visit to our garden.

I think this is the best of the photos I've gotten of them this year, perhaps ever.  The Salvia flowers sure add a blast of color to the photo.

A rainy morning.

This one, lacking much of the white stripe, showed up on my birthday...  September 15th!

The one from this morning, being September 24th.

It's been a great season for seeing these guys! And to see them more than the Raccoons is a nice change.

Here is a short video from this morning if you want to see some live foraging action.

All this diversity at home, when it happens, sure makes it less desirable to go out to other places and look for things.

Thanks for stopping in!

September 13, 2015


So our hard drive crashed just over a week ago. I learned from a friend that our Desk Star hard drive is notorious for frying prematurely, and has been nick named "Death Star". IBM even lost a law suit because of this. But I'm back and here is a little update.

A couple Fridays ago one of my co-workers came up to me about 5pm and asked me if I wanted a Pigeon. I was like "WTF?" Everyone knows about my visiting flock and how I've got some hand feeders. He brought me outside and showed me a baby Pigeon in our propane tank storage shed at the back of the warehouse.

How did he get here? The shed has a roof, walls but no doors on either end. It is along the wall of our warehouse. Our parking lot is a very busy area with tractor trailers constantly rolling through. There are no Pigeon nests around here, heck there are no Pigeons. I bird daily, usually not even intentionally. It's just when I am having my coffee before work, or on break, I'm always looking at birds around us. I never see Pigeons. Lots of Doves, a couple Hawks, Crows and many Ring-billed Gulls. So where did he come from? I could approach the bird and he would not (could not?) fly. Once I got within his comfort zone, he would run like hell, wings pointed straight up in the air, and head for cover behind the propane tanks.

I contacted a couple friends who work with wildlife rehab. I explained the situation, and sent off the above photo. I monitored the bird over the next few hours and come dark, it had left the cover of the shed and was hunkered along the wall near our stairs/entrance to the warehouse. I made the decision, taking in advice from those I discussed this with, that it would be in best interest of the bird to contain him and call Toronto Wildlife the next morning. Our plant would be shutting down for the long weekend and if the bird was in trouble, not many would be around over the next few days. He'd most likely die.

I got a Xerox box, and picked him up with ease towards the end of my shift. I figure the darkness made it easy for me. The next morning, he went up to TWC.

I've since gotten an update on the bird. He came in at 153 grams, and is up to 191 now. He's starting to feed on his own. He was thin on arrival, empty crop but is improving. Other than that, he's a healthy bird. So the question still runs through my mind... how did he end up where he did? It's like he just crashed in. Only he knows for sure, and lucky for him, it was me who was around. I'm sure others would have helped but you know what I mean. I will update on him again one day.

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to release some Warblers the other day before work. 10 of them to be exact. A huge shout out to the people of FLAP for saving these birds, and a huge shout out to Toronto Wildlife for caring for them. All these birds are survivors of window crashes during their fall migration. Sadly many many more do not survive such collisions.

Blackburnian Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackburnian back to doing his thing, feeding.  These birds just go go go.

With releases, some birds jet off, some stick around in the nearest tree while they get their bearings. I don't always have my camera with me, but if I do, I try for photos after release. I don't chase the birds. I give them their space. They have been through enough stress already. It's awesome to see them shake everything off rather quickly and go back to business as usual, being a bird, eating insects and moving along their way with migration.

It had been a quiet summer for me with wildlife interaction through the places I volunteer with. I went from weekly adventures to monthly. I missed it but always figured things were going well out there and I was not needed. It would be selfish of me to wish for a call in need of a volunteer driver because an animal was in trouble.

Angie blogged about the other weekend where she got to join me in another release. Since we work different shifts, too often she is not with me physically, but always in spirit. Please check her blog here.

I want to update you all on some other wildlife stuff around the house, but will save that for later this week. I always struggle with blog titles, but I think this one worked, tying in all these bits. If you care for a little bit more, Angie and I are monthly contributors to a blog with Bird Canada. On the 10th of every month, we have a blog with them. But there are many great blogs throughout the month from people across Canada. Here is our latest.

See you soon!


August 17, 2015

Sunday with the Skunks

Most evenings I am going out back a couple times, checking out what kind of nocturnal creatures are lurking about. In this heat wave I am often refreshing the bird baths and basins for the animals.

Last night was epic with my late night outing! And blog worthy in my mind...

Skunk is a word that brings fear and panic to many people. On my street, with some of the neighbours, a Skunk is like Bigfoot roaming the land... a mysterious creature to always fear, to run from, because it is going to spray you and ruin your day.

For us, a Skunk is exciting to see since we don't see them often. There is the odd sighting this summer. Spring of 2014 we had a big beauty who came out a few mid-mornings giving us some great views.

Two summers ago we had one show up in the evening while we had a few friends over for a BBQ. The women went inside while the boys stayed outside trying to get better views. Notice I said women and boys? Seems there was some debate over our maturity level that night. LoL!

I know we've lost 2 in the last year to car strikes. Years ago Angie and I had a mother Skunk and 5 babies in the garden late one night. It was back in the good old days, our younger days, where we stayed up late playing music, having drinks and we'd shine a flashlight down in the garden on occasion to see what may be wandering about and looking back up at us.

The other night I was out looking for meteors and had some company.

The next morning I am washing the back deck and took notice to a Skunk underneath. I think I gave him a bit of a soaking but not enough to flee. A bit later I looked and found him curled up asleep.

And then, last night. I am down at the back when I took notice to one in the garden, under the bird feeders. I watched him for a bit and suddenly a second Skunk surfaced in the vicinity. I'm thinking how cool this is. We have a lot of vegetation for the animals to hide in throughout the summer months. It's great cover for the birds, Squirrels and Chipmunks (which we are thrilled to see once again). The animals like to travel along the fence line, behind the wall of green as well. I bring this up because as I'm watching the 2 in the garden, a third one surfaces to the right of me along the fence line. "Holy s**t!" This one is maybe 5 feet from me, just doing his thing, wandering about.

The other 2 are maybe 10 feet from me.

With such close proximity, the fear of spraying sits in the back of my mind. I'm not going to do any sudden moves with them so close, not taking any chances on startling any of them. As I always tell people, keep your cool, don't lose your s**t around wild animals, and all will be fine. The problem is that as I stay in my spot here on the lawn, hunkered down, I begin to notice a number of Raccoon wandering about. I'm sure the older ones know not to mess with a Skunk, but the young ones ??? Last year one of our more sociable and curious born that season did get a good spraying. I felt bad for him because it was weeks before the smell wore down to just a faint scent. Poor guy couldn't get the stink off for anything. And last night there was a couple smaller Raccoon in the mix.

All I need is one of these new to the world little guys do something stupid in his lessons of life and we all feel the wrath from a Skunk on the defense.

I remained still, watching, trying to snap some photos. I had my macro lens on because part of my reason this night was to look for some moths. I've been seeing some neat ones after dark some work nights.

The macro is a very sensitive lens and any slight movement throws the shot off. I'm shooting free hand if I can call it that, not having the tri-pod out there with me for stability.

One of the first two wandering around on my left, some very close moments.

Money shot!  LoL!  Definitely not the end I want to be face to face with.

I don't know how long I was out there but I felt it was time for me to vacate the area. Too many critters wandering about, some of the Raccoons were getting close to the Skunks, all wanting a share of the food about the ground. It seems the House Sparrows threw a lot of the black oil sunflower seed on the ground that afternoon, or maybe a Raccoon climbed the pole and gave one of the feeders a good shake, as there was seed everywhere.

With me wanting to get back to the house, I had a problem just ahead of me. 2 Skunks on my left, one on my right. I have a small open spot to get through, less than 5 feet wide. Is that too close for comfort? Even as I do my best stealth like moves across the grass?

I took this shot just now, to give you an idea of the spot I had to get through using the old blue bin as reference to the width.

Getting to the other side of the garden, it's way more open, and I'd feel a lot safer there. A view from the other side.

I could easily see the 2 Skunks on the left. I lost the other one in the vegetation. I kept pondering making a break for it, walking light and quick, but didn't... yet. Minutes pass, many perhaps, when I hear the dogs a few yards over being let out and they were barking like crazy. Lucky for me as the third Skunk showed himself now. He raced up the lawn towards the house, and then up the walkway to the front. A couple Raccoons scattered up the trees thanks to the dogs. Now it was my turn. I kept one eye on the two foraging to my left. Raccoons in the trees were watching me now. I swear I could hear them placing bets on my outcome as I passed the Skunks. LoL!

All went well as I hoped and really did expect to play out.

I stopped for a moment, watching the action under the feeder pole. Thanks to the dogs, I was now down to one Skunk and one Raccoon.

Good ground cover down there as you can see.

I think this is a great candidate for "CAPTION THIS"

Just as I was about to leave the area and go inside, one last photo opportunity presented itself...

I do wonder with all these Skunks about if our very nearby Great Horned Owl will ever find her way to our backyard? This species of Owl loves to feast on Skunks because they have no sense of smell. I recon the Skunk's bright white stripes even on the darkest of nights are like a bull's eye. It certainly would be a bitter sweet moment if it ever does happen. I have heard a Great Horned Owl from our backyard but yet to see one.

Spot the our local Owl?

Thanks for stopping in! I hope all of you in Southern Ontario are keeping cool through this nasty heat wave we are experiencing.