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Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters | Environment

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Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters
Urban Wildlife in Forest Hills – George’s Backyard Critters

This is a story about urban and suburban wildlife.  It’s probably a story that is repeated across West Michigan from the lakeshore to Greater Grand Rapids.  You can imagine this story happening in Grandville, Hudsonville, and Walker on the west side to Ada, Cascade, and Lowell on the east side and Rockford and Sparta to the north and Kentwood and Wyoming to the south.  It’s a story about how backyard critters can entertain us, and at other times, causes us to cringe.  This particular story is based in the Forest Hills neighborhood in eastern Kent County. 

Part 1 – Meet the Cast of Characters:

My dog, George, loves to watch what’s going on in our backyard.  My husband and I have our TV set; George has his “Backyard TV Set”.  Sometimes the scene in the backyard is a drama, other times it’s a comedy.  George can spend hours watching the “characters” having breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Eating and looking for food is how the urban wildlife spends most of the time in our backyard.  However, sometimes there is backyard drama.  We have critters of all shapes and sizes.  Let me introduce you to the cast of characters.

“Baldy” is a male cardinal.  We gave him that name because he lost the feathers on the top of his head.  One day this winter, he showed up with his crest and the feathers around his eyes missing.  We’re not sure if “Hawkeye” attacked him or maybe it was one of the neighborhood cats.

“Doe-Boy” loves to steal food from the bird feeder.  That’s him, or is it her, up on his/her hind legs.  Like the Pillsbury Doughboy, he warms our hearts with his/her antics.  Doe-Boy and his seven white tailed friends come and go all year round.

“Hawkeye” is the neighborhood hawk.  All the characters know him and fear him.  Let’s just say he has NO friends in this backyard drama.

“Tommy” and “Henrietta” are the wild turkeys who live in the neighborhood and visit our bird feeder. Tommy will fan his tail, which is a pretty sight.  Wildlife experts will tell you that male wild turkeys try to impress female turkeys by spreading out their tails, so I’m not sure why Tommy fans his tail for the postal service truck.

“Opie” is the opossum who saunters through the backyard once in a blue moon.  He has played possum more than once for us.

There is also a wide assortment of other critters that come to visit our bird feeder and backyard, such as birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, raccoons, and periodically a skunk. 

Next Sunday in Part 2, you’ll learn more about "Baldy" - one of our favorite characters in our backyard drama. 

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