Urban Wildlife and Paying Attention

On Saturday morning, Mick and I worked in the garden. We cut back the massive squash vines, harvested tomatoes, dug out the spent basil, picked a few peppers, cut the grass. Squirrels and rabbits have been rampant this year, and they’ve often helped themselves to whatever food we are growing before we can get to it. This year, we are also growing some decorative gourds and the squirrels love them. We found half-eaten gourds all over the yard. Mick noticed one squirrel with its head in a gourd much like a little kid eating a big watermelon.

We decided that we weren’t going to try to save the gourds. The squirrels seem to prefer them over the other things in the garden, so maybe that isn’t so terrible. Maybe that will allow us to harvest the butternut squash and tomatoes with less competition. And we all have to eat, man and squirrel and rabbit.

In the afternoon, a hawk perched on our recently pruned lilac. We both watched to see if he would swoop into the squash patch to snatch up some small creature. He sat for quite a few minutes, tilting and turning his head in all directions, long enough for me to take his picture. Then he flew low over the yard, veered around our birch trees, and was gone.

I often see hawks around near the tall grasses along the freeways, notice them sitting atop light poles, their shapes distinct against the sky. They seldom stop in our yard where there are people and dogs and lawnmowers and wind chimes and less room to maneuver. When they do visit, we feel lucky and somehow honored. Their focus on what is around them reminds me that paying attention is a gift to be used well.

Happy Monday. May you notice and honor what is right in front of you today.




  1. That is fantastic advice about noticing details, something I always try to do.

    Sorry to hear about the invasion of rascally squirrels into your garden. I like your attitude about allowing them to consume the gourds if it keeps them away from other garden goodies.


  2. Ooh! It is such a good time of year for nature observation and reflection. I posted something similar last week. It’s like we have to soak it all in before winter drives us back inside. Great post!


  3. We feed our squirrel (singular) corn cobs, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Keeps him off the bird feeders. Mostly. Had to chase the rabbits out because the dogs were eating their poop and getting worms. As for hawks I’m lucky enough to see them every day here. It’s awesome. Eagles now and then, too. Not to mention the deer and antelope crossing the road in front of me. It’s a busy place!


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