Do I see wildlife in urban Alaska? Why, yes, I do!
This wretched ungulate is moseying away from my front yard after having eaten my roses. I’m not a wildlife biologist, but I’m getting the idea that when a developer drops a subdivision in the middle of a moose trail, the moose don’t care.
I’ve lived in this house for twelve years and every winter, a cow and a calf wonder down the hill every night in the exact same pattern. First they eat what used to be my maple tree and is now a maple shrub, then they come across the my driveway and forage the front yard. Used to be they ate my lilac, so I moved it to the backyard thinking they would be discouraged. But nope: they eat roses too.
I’ve seen one wolf up close in the wild and that was on my back deck when I had a condo that overlooked a lake. The property wasn’t fenced in the back. He just leapt up on to the deck, looked in the window, looked around and left. I was so stunned, I didn’t think to grab a camera. People will tell you wolves are shy. But here in Alaska, they kill dogs, stalk humans and have killed a few, so I’m glad the glass was between us.
I’ve seen more bear up close than I care to, mostly back in my hiking days. In my first bear confrontation, we met a mother black bear with three cubs climbing a tree. She charged us but we held our ground waving our walking sticks, yelling and making ourselves look big. I was yelling, “Please don’t eat me, Mrs. Bear.” It worked.
The second time, a bear chased a rabbit in the brush. There was quite a bit of trashing — I think the rabbit lost. We went the long way around to avoid the scene.
The third time, we were coming downhill and the bear was going uphill on another trail just a couple of feet parallel to ours. The woman in front, not me, was too busy talking to see the bear so it was four feet away before we all noticed each other. It didn’t care and kept going. We quit hiking at that location.
In my last bear encounter, a woman known as The Old Hag and I were hiking in springtime when we were stalked. We knew it was a bear because it was making lots of noise in the brush but it wasn’t tall enough to see. And that was the last time I went hiking in bear country.
We have nice wildlife too or at least wildlife that doesn’t want to eat people. There are eagles nesting somewhere near my house. I see them teaching their babies how to fly every summer. The geese pass through Anchorage and some hatch their young here. In Alaska, traffic stops for a goose and goslings and it’s a perfectly acceptable reason to be late to work. Just the other day, I had to brake when a red fox ran across the road in front of my car.
What about you, Mysteristas? Do you have any wildlife, urban or otherwise, where you live?