Mikey & Christy’s Wild Kingdom

A couple of my friends may be old enough to remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom….( only a couple though)… I have some very fond memories of watching it as a family  growing up.   Marlin Perkins’  voice will always  be a nostalgic memory for me.    

 

Our state  has an incredible amount of  wildlands and wild life that  inhabit  them.  Most  people who know me, know that I love wildlife.   I’ve lived in the country  on and off for a long time,  and  have seen all kinds of wildlife, especially here in  Washington, we have so  much open space, mountains, rivers, ocean, high desert.  Our current  home,  is semi-country. It  feels “country”. We’re on just shy of 3 acres, mostly wooded on a gravel road in unincorporated  King County. We’re  surrounded by  agriculture and  open space but still  close in to  “town”   roughly an  8 min  drive to the grocery store.

Since we  moved here over a year ago,  we’ve seen so  much wildlife.  The area really  displays the urban-wildland interface  and shows  how  all the different species, including humans and domesticated animals, live together.

Here’s an  aerial  view of where we live:

 

satellite view

We  are  “connected” to  both the  wilderness and the less civilized world…..

Some of the wildlife we’ve seen are common to  the urban environment, while others are very  wild.    Of course we have birds showing up  regularly. Here’s a list of birds  that we’ve actually seen here in  just over a year, I’m sure I’ve missed some and or haven’t actually seen others:

Birds

American Crow House Finch Varied Thrush
American Goldfinch Mourning Dove Western Scrub Jay
American Robin Northern Flicker Western Tanager
Anna’s Hummingbird Northern Saw-Whet Owl White Crowned Sparrow
Bald Eagle Olive-Sided Flycatcher
Band-tailed Pigeon Pacific Wren
Barred Owl Pileated Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee Pine Siskin
Black-Headed Grosbeak Purple Finch
Brown Creeper Red-breasted Nuthatch
Cedar Wax-wing Red-breasted Sapsucker
Chestnut-backed Chickadee Red-tailed Hawk
Common Raven Rufous Hummingbird
Cooper’s Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Dark-Eyed Junco Song Sparrow
Downy Woodpecker Spotted Towhee
Evening Grosbeak Steller’s Jay
Golden Crowned Sparrow Swainson’s Thrush
Great Blue Heron Tree Swallow
Hairy Woodpecker Turkey Vulture

We also get our share of Reptiles, Amphibians and  invertebrates:

  • Northwestern Salamander
  • Western Toad
  • Pacific Tree Frog
  • Northwestern Garter Snake
  • Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Then there are the Mammals:

  • Black Bear (scat only – no actual sightings)
  • Black-Tailed Deer
  • Bobcat
  • Cottontail rabbit
  • Coyote ( heard only – no actual sightings)
  • Douglas Squirrel
  • Human ( unfortunately LOL)
  • Little Brown bat ( I always think of the little nut brown hare book with these guys name)
  • Mole
  • Mouse
  • Raccoon
  • Rat
  • Shrew
  • Vole
  • Western grey squirrel

I won’t even begin to get into the spiders and bugs, slugs and snails…  though I will mention I absolutely love the fact that since I’ve live in WA ( 1991 –  present – [exceptions for months at sea]) I’ve never once seen a  cockroach…  love that..

I believe we  have reached the apex of  wildlife though,  with the arrival of  an adult cougar (see what I did there…apex…groan…)  Yes  –  A  full grown mountain lion in the yard. This happened the morning  of  8/22/16  it was here for at least 45 minutes.

I was  working from home and on a conference call.  Suk will sometimes drop  items in the  airlock  and will quork and call  until  I go out there to retrieve whatever, critical to life (in his mind),  item  is retrieved for him. I’ve considered  putting in a sloped  piece of  plexi-glass   so that if he drops items they will  slide/roll back into the aviary….but that’s a  future upgrade… along with a water feature, heating and  air conditioning… so anyway, he’s   quorking  and calling   similar  to an item dropped in the  airlock, but then it gets louder and more urgent and  non-stop with some scream like vocalizations as well.  I am officially concerned, but I’m on a work call….I check the  video monitoring and  see him in there jumping and hollering and in full attack mode,   so I know he’s  not stuck in something…  he still won’t stop though so I excused myself from the meeting  early and  go out to check on him.

As I step off the porch and start towards the aviary,   I did a double, probably a quadruple take… right out of a  cartoon beedeep beeddep beedeepp what?!? Right there between the aviary and the garden,  less then 6 feet from the  aviary is a  very large  animal… that is less than a 60 yards from me….at first I was like  wow that’s a  big bobcat…with a  long tail…..wait what?  HOLY CRAP that’s a cougar!  I slowly backed  up and went back inside to grab the camera.. ( not  a gun..  I’ve seen plenty of  cougars in the mountains  just not in my  yard,  they live here too, as long as they aren’t eating me  or my  family they do not need to be harmed) , grabbed the camera  and went back out and it was  out of sight.  I walked over there and searched all around  (I do not recommend that for anyone, even if you’re a big fella like me – but I did it anyway)  no sign of it, and I did look up in the trees as well, I suspect it  left when it saw me  but for all I know  it was  just well camouflaged and was  sizing me up for dinner but thought I looked a bit tough and decided not to eat me, even though I’m really pretty tender, as you all  know.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any footage of him/her on  any of the  cameras,  it was exactly in a blind spot (no longer a blind spot now)….  But it was  a  beautiful reddish/cinnamon color had a long tail (slowly going back and forth eeeek!)  with a black tip for the last ~4″ , it was  roughly  5 feet long and 3 feet tall at shoulders. Big Cat!  Literally it was  awesome!

After   I  couldn’t find it, I did a full aviary inspection , no damage or concerns.So it hadn’t  been  on it that I could tell.   I went in and  told Suk how  great a boy he was for sounding the alarm!  He got extra head-scratchin’, beak-rubbin’   love!

After I calmed down, I made the report to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, they like to   know when/where  Cougar and Bear are sighted. Not for any  action just to document the  sighting.

I also let the  neighbors that I have email address for know, as they  have pets and or  livestock that  they should  probably be extra  vigilant of.

We have motion lights and  a “predator guard” system on the  aviary  but that’s mostly for night time  deterrence, not for broad daylight!  Not sure if we need to  do anything more than what we have,  we now know  what the “red alert”  sounds like…. so that’s probably alarm  enough for daytime.

I did have a trail cam set up  near that area as well  to try to catch video of whatever got the dogs a  month or so ago  and I did  find out that was what looks to be a young Bobcat. Here’s  the  clip of that cutie  strolling past the garden:

So from Southeast King County, WA this is  Mikey and Christy signing off for now from our Wild Kingdom!

Until next time

Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love  –  http://wp.me/p2RcFA-3Z

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3 thoughts on “Mikey & Christy’s Wild Kingdom

  1. I would be one of those older friends. We watched Wild Kingdom all the time when I was a kid.
    Love the bobcat video. I think we had a cougar visit in the field next to us last year – a shadow in the tall grass, I actually thought I was hallucinating until I heard one had been sighted about seven miles west of us a day or so later.
    There’s nothing like country living, sounds like you’ve found a good compromise between urban and rural.

  2. I must be old I LOVED Wild Kingdom!!!! And I would have LOVED to have seen your visitor!!! Good for SUK…he may not be “wild” anymore but he sure recognizes danger when he sees it!!!!

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