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Sharing spring with wildlife

Sharing spring with wildlife

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

Sometimes I feel like we live in a movie.

Now that it’s warm enough to open wide the windows, we’re awakened each morning with loud, enthusiastic birdsong. The sound floods my mind with scenes from the move ‘Cinderella.’ Remember how enthusiastically the little birds sang in that film while they decorated her gown and hair with ribbons and jewels?

A family of quail lives in the bushes just up the hill behind our kitchen. When frightened, the parents take off in a burst of shocking sound that is every bit as real as a military helicopter taking off. The babies scurry around, their feet a blur, their little topknots bobbing. They make me feel like I’m in ‘Bambi.

The field and meadow grass is so tall now, that grazing calves look like rocks or boulders in the wavering green, until they raise their heads to look around. Shades of 'Lion King.'

Clouds of birds burst from their perches like fireworks. Sometimes their group aerial displays resemble long silky scarves sailing gracefully, spiraling up and down the cloudless sky.

And last night, driving home in the late hour blackness, I was accompanied all the way up our long, winding drive by rabbits – Jackrabbits and bunny rabbits.

These lively critters fill me with joy. I just laugh when they get in front of my car and insist on running there in total panic.

The Jackrabbits are about the size of a small dog. They’re more than two-feet long and I’m told they can weigh up to eight pounds. Although we call them Jackrabbits, they are really Hares. Their large hind feet propel them along at speeds that surpass 10 miles per hour (according to my car’s speedometer).

What I love about them is that they run with their long, full ears straight up like two exclamation points. They’re so funny! Although scared to death, dodging and twisting and running to save their lives, they almost never get off the driveway. They run right in front of me all the way to the top, until I pull into the garage. Then they stop and watch, or they go leaping off into the grass to hide.

The bunnies, who are smaller and have small ears, do the same thing. They run and jump and try to escape, without ever getting off the drive. They stay right in front of me all the way to the garage.

I slow down to about 5 miles per hour, and just follow them along, laughing at their antics and wishing I could convince them that they’re safe. Who knows why they haven’t been taught, or haven’t learned to simply run off the driveway into the surrounding grass and shrubs?

In my headlights last night, the bunnies and Jackrabbits dodged and ran and leaped and spun, always staying right in the spotlight of my headlights. I felt like I was in the movie ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ being heralded and accompanied to the castle.

When I reached the garage, they veered off. I trust that they all felt strong and confident, as if they’d eluded danger with their speed and cleverness.

So I give them a workout, and they give me the gift of laughter. I’m totally entertained by the hilarious gymnastics of my furry, four-footed neighbors.

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