Backyard Wildlife

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Backyard Wildlife A squirrel is climbing the tree in early morning for a snack, the various birds sing a gentle morning song, and the rabbit sneaks his head around the brick pile to get a peak at what's for breakfast. Debbie walks outside with a plate in her hand and the animals go right ahead singing and playing. All of this happens on a routine morning at her house in the small town of Payneway, Arkansas.

Along with having an arrogant cat and a happy-go-lucky dog, Debbie has built an amazing display of bird feeders and such equipment to draw wildlife to her backyard. Although she resides right beside a very busy Highway 63, Debbie has managed to bring an amazing quantity of wildlife to her very own backyard. All of these attributes caused me to go take a look for myself.

January the twenty-third was a very cold morning and I went to Mrs.

Debbie Shelton's house to take a look at the wildlife. It was still dark and I doubted to see anything that cold morning. But, as the sun rose over the field behind her house, her squirrel was on his daily routine, to rob the bird feeders before the birds took over for the morning. Before this, I had about fallen asleep waiting for sunrise, but now I pg2 was very interested. A while passed and the backyard was full of beautifully colored birds and fat squirrels. Eight o'clock came along and it was time for the horses to be fed. Debbie walked out of the house and was on her way to the pasture when something very peculiar happened. One of the birds that she feeds every morning took a sudden swoop at her head. She said that this had never happened before, so we went upstairs to her computer to find an answer to this happening. It just so happened that we found that a few birds' eggs were hatching around this time. Debbie was relieved, I guess she thought that the birds were just mad at her. I was astonished that I was not ready to go when Debbie was ready to go to work. She said that I could come watch the birds with her any morning that I wanted to. I thought about it and decided that I would go a few more times and record my observations.

My second observation came on Thursday of that same week. Surprisingly, it was warmer than usual that day. The animals of Debbie's yard also noticed the beautiful day coming along. The squirrel was at the bird feeder around the same time that day and everything else happened, pretty much, at the same time it did on Tuesday. A major difference this day was that the animals were too numerous to even watch them all at the same time. On one tree, there would be a bird feeder that pg3 was overpopulated with blackbirds. And on another birdfeeder, there was nothing but beautiful, brightly colored red birds. The red birds were fun to watch. It seemed as though they were communicating with each other and taking turns on the crowded bird feeder. This was the first day that the rabbit had appeared to me. I was watching the sparrows trying to eat with the blackbirds with my binoculars for about three minutes without putting the binoculars down. When I put them down, I saw a beautiful and funny sight. A huge rabbit was standing on Debbie's son's playhouse. I guess that he seen me through the window because he took off to the ditch behind the playhouse. The rabbit had run so slowly that he was funny to watch. Debbie said that every Friday morning, she fed the horses carrots, and she would always throw some of them behind the old playhouse. I assume that the rabbit had eaten too many carrots on Fridays. This time, the rabbit had been a day early, and it knew that when there were no carrots behind the playhouse. After talking to Debbie through breakfast, I decided to come back the next day with my soul purpose to be to catch that rabbit eating.

That Friday morning was hard for me to get out of bed, but I got up and went straight to Mrs. Shelton's house. This was a morning that I had been waiting for. That fat rabbit had to be one of the cutest animals that I had ever seen. The birds pg4 had my attention until I seen the squirrel. In all my life, I had never seen anything so peculiar. Debbie has a birdfeeder that is held up by a skinny pole. The squirrel tried to climb it, but had no luck. Then the squirrel gets on top of the lawnmower, which is parked about twenty feet from the birdfeeder, and looks as if he were going to try to leap to the birdhouse. Debbie was watching with me by this time. All of the sudden, he just did it, but not making it to the birdhouse. Debbie said she had never seen such a sight either. The horses needed to be fed, and they will let you know when they are hungry. Debbie said that the horses were as fun to watch as the birds or the squirrel. So, I planned my last observation to be on Sunday morning before church just to watch the horses. It was eight o'clock now, and I was ready to see this fat rabbit. She threw the leftover carrots in the same place as usual and I just waited and watched patiently. Sure enough, the rabbit waddled his way to the pile of carrots and just sit there nibbling around on the carrots for about twenty minutes. I saw the reason for this rabbit's weight problem. Debbie said that the rabbit would be in big trouble if the dogs ever got after him. That concluded my day, and I got what I came for.

Sunday morning was here and I was expecting the unexpected. The horses were asleep when I got there, but Debbie said that they would wake up shortly.

pg5 Also, she said that the horses played every morning. When they woke, I was watching the birds on the other side of the yard, so there is no telling what I missed. After I realized that the horses were awake, I didn't take my eyes off of them. The way that they were playing reminded me of two young kids playing outside in the cold. Their breath was visible and they looked to be worn out after a short time of playing. Debbie told me that the horses had not been ridden in about ten years, and the only purpose for her having the horses was that she liked to watch them. I guess that she cares a lot more about wildlife the most people. My observations were very interesting and it did not bother me at all to go back after the first day. I was dreading the first day, but after I seen all of the wildlife, I was thrilled to go back. Now, every time I see her house in that small town, I think about all of the wonderful things that she showed me in those few days. With all of this being said, I am more than happy to say that Debbie Shelton is my mother.