BIRDS - We maintain a humingbird feeder in the summertime & we put cracked corn & sunflower seed out on a table on our sundeck year round so we have a large variety of beautiful wild birds that come to our back door. Occasionally even large crows will come right up to the house to eat. We have whiporwills & chuckwills in the spring and during the summer a small screech owl churtles near our house at night. I remember one night in particular some years ago - about 1981. Gene was at work & I was curled up in bed with a good book. The house was quiet & I had the windows open so I could hear the frogs croaking. That screech owl perched in a tree right outside the open bedroom window & just as I was about to doze off he let out one of those blood-curdling screeches they are so well known for! Needless to say I nearly had a heart attack. After I regained my composure & got my wits back about me I could just picture that little booger out there in the dark snickering & laughing to himself while mumbling "Hee, hee hee! I sure scared the cr*p out of her!!!"
One night in March, 1999 I had left the back porch light on & about 8 p.m. I saw a small barred owl fly up & land in the tree by the sundeck. He was soooo cute!!! He would tilt his little head & look around & once he even leaned forward & looked in the door at us!
One winter we had a flock of 10 or 12 wild turkeys that came around to eat the bird seed that we put out. When I first saw them in the backyard I thought our neighbor's domestic turkeys had gotten out of their pen & wandered over here. When I called the neighbor on the phone to inform her that her turkeys had gotten out she laughed & said that they weren't her turkeys but wild ones. It seems they had been in the neighbors yard earlier & she also thought her turkeys had gotten out. When she went outside to shoo them back into their pen she saw that her turkeys were still there & the wild turkeys then flew over to our yard. These turkeys hung around for about a month happily eating us out of house & home. When we came home from outtings some would run into the woods & others would take flight - you could hear their wings beating the air on liftoff. But they would quickly return. Unfortunately we no longer enjoy these turkeys as they wandered off down by the lake where some jerk poachers shot & killed the whole flock. The hunters only took the breast meat of the turkeys & left the rest of their bodies lay. HAWK - At right is a hawk perched in one of our trees during a snowstorm.
In 2008 we had a couple of Baltimore Orioles at our humming bird feeder. They were beautiful!!!
Crows - 2013
ANIMALS - Of course the squirrels & chipmunks help themselves to the birdseed too. And the wild rabbits eat the "fall-out" that spills onto the ground. At night we sometimes have raccoons & opossums and even skunks who also come around & eat. One time back in the early 1980's a mother opossum came around with her babies peeking out of her pouch. One of them fell out & as mama opossum wandered off down the hill it began crying frantically. I thought it was going to be abandoned too & began having visions of trying to bottlefeed this tiny baby opossum. After a couple of minutes though mama opossum turned around & came back & stood over her baby while it grabbed ahold of her fur & scrambled back into her pouch.
There is one opossum that for some strange reason likes to poop in my flowerpots! For a long time we thought one of the neighbors dogs was doing it until one night I flipped the porch light on to see if anything was outside. There was this opossum wandering around on the porch. Then he politely climbed up in the flowerpot & pooped! Now we know who the real culprit is!
We used to have a beautiful, gentle deer that came right up in our backyard & graze. We named her Janey, short for Jane Doe. In the summertime when the backdoor was open she was close enough to hear me typing in the house. Her ears would twitch as she listened. But we no longer enjoy Janey as some jerk poacher shot & killed her.
We also have bats that fly around our dusk to dawn light catching bugs. You have to really watch close to see the bats though as they are difficult to see. We have had a bat house for several years in the edge of the woods near the pond but so far nothing has taken up residence in it.
We usually awaken in the mornings to the sound of squirrels scrambling around on the roof of our house. They will even come up to our sliding glass doors, peer in at us & rub their tummies begging for penuts! All of our regular squirrels are gray but in June of 1997 we had a red squirrel show up for about a week. In all the years
that we have lived here (since 1981) it was only the 2nd red squirrel we've had. One night in June of 1999 I observed what I think was a rare flying squirrel feeding from the table on our sundeck.
Watch a video of our squirrels ~ click here.
We have a bigger than average size lizard, "Godzilla", that lives on our front porch. Of course there are many average size & small lizards too. Some of our lizards, including Godzila, are so tame that they do not even run from us when we walk by them. At right is a black snake that I evicted from our basement.
We also have a small frog pond with a gazebo roof over it to provide shade & a fountain in the center for decoration & to aeriate the water. We used to have a wooden ramp in the pond to provide easier access for the frogs to get in & out. It was the favorite resting spot of the larger frogs. They liked to sit on the ramp where they could rest partially submerged in the water. The problem was that they didn't want to share so they would fight over it. One frog would be resting peacefully till another frog would sneakily swim up behind him & bump him in the butt. The bumpee would be sent frantically skimming across the water to the other side of the pond while the bumper would steal the resting spot! Gene eventually made a couple of terraced platforms for the frogs to sit on. They really like them! They are big enough that they can all sit on them & they no longer fight. Above is "Jeremiah Bullfrog" sitting on one of the terraces. We used to have a very large bullfrog who lived in our pond that we named "Gator". We named her that because when she was floating in the water she resembled an alligator's nose. We don't know how much she weighed but I'm sure she would've taken a prize! We haven't seen her for quite awhile but we still have a lot of southern leopard frogs & tree frogs that reside in or near the pond. Here is our big water turtle that took up residence in our pond in 2001. We named him Tuffy Turtle. He loves sunning himself on the bricks on top of the middle terrace.
This is a Map Turtle that we discovered passing through our front yard. Photographed: June 2008
INSECTS - We even have a variety of pet insects too. We have granddaddy long legs that seem to like to gather near our doors; locusts, a walking stick or two, a few praying mantisses & other insects. For two summers we had a spider that lived in a small hole in the ground near the steps of our sundeck. You could sometimes see her eyes peeking out at you and after she got used to us and knew we would not bother her she would come out to the edge of the hole and sun herself with all of her hundreds of tiny baby spiders on her back. We also had a spider with a missing leg that wove a web in the upper part of the doorway of our deck doors near our back porch light. It caught bugs in it's web at night and during the day it slept huddled up in the corner of the doorway with it's front legs folded over its eyes. After us accidently walking through it's web several times it then accomodatingly spun it in such a way that we could go in & out the door without tearing up the spider's web. Smart spider! Also at night we have kayti dids that sing for us & sometimes (not very often though) we will see a large luna moth fluttering around the porch light. Every summer we usuallyfind a few scorpions in our house as we live in a rocky area. I never knew Missouri had scorpions till we moved to Washington County. They are definitely not a welcome visitor!!!
This large spider & its hatched egg & hundreds of babies are on the back wall of our house just outside our sliding glass doors. I check on her several times a day & she is always close to her babies. We named her "Big Mama"
Photographed: 5 Sept. 2008
Large spider on the Pussy Porch. Believe it might be the same spider as in the other picture. Photographed: summer of 2010
Golden Orb Spider on back door. 2011
Wooly worm - photographed: 2010
Possum Family on back sun deck. November 2011
CARROLL PROPERTY CERTIFIED
BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT
Published in the Independent Journal 2 Jan. 1986
Hungry birds and animals may soon be passing the word along the wildlife grapevine that the welcome mat is always out at the Potosi home of Esther and Gene Carroll. The Carroll property has jusst been registeresd as a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation as a link in its nationwide network of mini-fefuges for wildlife in residential neighborhoods. Steps taken by the Carrolls to attract wildlife include providing food and water and ares for shelter and nesting. Other concerned residents who would like to encourage wildlife to nest and feed in their yards should send for a free Backyard Wildlife Habitat informational package. Address your request to: National Wildlife Federation, Backyard Wildlife Habitat, 1412 16yh Sst. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
To see our backyard click here
MISSOURI WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTER
1128 New Ballwin Rd., Ballwin, Mo. 63021
The Missouri Wildlife Rescue Center is located in Ballwin, St. Louis County. They provide 24 hour resue service for wildlife as well as accepting ill or injured animals brought to the center. They provide housing & veterinary care for these animals until they are able to be returned to the wild. They also appreciate donations to help care for these animals.
To visit the Rescue Center website click here
A PRAYER FOR ANIMALS
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especialy for animals who are suffering, for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.