Friday, October 16, 2015

Backyard Wildlife

Owls: short video clips of owl visit in my backyard

 Owl at a birdbath (at dusk)

In the previous blog, I talked about owl visit in my backyard. On that day, the temperature was climbing over 100 degrees in Fahrenheit. It was about middle of the day in summer, shortly after lunch. I was really surprised to see owl during the day. All along, I thought owls are nocturnal creature and they are active only at night.  However, I soon found out that these owls are called "burrowing owls" and they are diurnal and nocturnal. That means they can be active during the day and night. Even though they are diurnal, they are more active during night hours.

It was a hot day, and these owls must have become hot and thirsty. They came out to my backyard and hung out at the birdbath. They were drinking and splashing water. They just came to play in the water. For us human, it is tough to keep cool these hot and dry summer days in Texas. 

  Owl and opossum (at night)

I saw an owl came back at night. I took out my old Sony Handycam video recorder. Believe or not, it uses 8mm cassette tapes and so you know it's old, but still works.  It has an infrared light switch for night shooting. I set it up to take about 2 hours after sunset. Owls are usually coming around sunset hours or shortly after that.  


Last summer I saw a very friendly young squirrel. It used to come to my back patio. When I stepped out to the patio, he just looked up at me and did not run away.  So, I got a few pieces of peanuts and offered them. He gladly grabbed the peanuts, and started peeling and eating them until all pieces are gone. 

Since that day, the squirrel came back and begged for more peanuts. One day, I saw him all the way across my neighbor's yard. I was looking over the 6 foot fence. I called out to him, and came hopping across the yard, climbed over the fence. 

Fall season came and wild pecans started to drop to the ground. Pecans are squirrels' favorite food. This is the season when a plenty of food is available to wild animals. The friendly squirrel's visits were less frequent.  The squirrel did not stay young. He was growing up.  And by this time, he was like any other squirrels.

Skippy, the friendly wild squirrel


The fall season went, and winter came and gone. Winter is a hard time for wild animals to survive. Around that time, the squirrel's visits stopped. He may have gone away from the neighborhood in search of food.  Also, there are dangers of small animals and wild birds being killed by stray cats and dogs in the neighborhood.  But I keep looking out the backyard everyday, thinking he may come back one day. 

Opossums and Raccoons

One summer night, I set up the video camera on my patio. I have seen opossums and raccoons and armadillos in the past. They are nocturnal animals. Opossums and raccoons are scavengers. Armadillos are bug and ground worm hunters. I cut up an apples in small cubes and placed them in the corner of the patio and some on a small table. 

This is the video I capture that night.

I hoped to catch raccoons more than opossums. But as you see in the video, the opossum came earlier at night and ate up most of the apple pieces. For an unknown reason, the opossum left one piece of apple on the table. The poor raccoon was happy to have one small piece. As you also see, he was looking for more and come back and check the table.

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