By Cynthia Smith
Last week as I drove home from Boscobel Library, I came around the curve into Steuben along the (still high) Kickapoo River, slowing down to the posted 25 mph speed limit. This slow down enabled me to glance at a movement off to my left. A mama red fox (a vixen?) with two kits just playing in the grass.
It was an enchanting scene - but the kits quickly headed for the tree line of the woods. The mama was a bit more curious and watched me go past her as she sunned there in the grass. Finally - a dry day! At last, dealing with those active twins, I could imagine her thoughts: they
can run off some energy.
I think often of a mother, caring for a bunch of offspring, at a time when nature has gotten some gloomy front stuck over Crawford County for three or four days. Do they think to themselves, ‘ Oh heck, another day stuck in the darn den!’
The other day as I was feeding the birds grape jelly for the orioles, a few halved oranges, shelled sunflower seeds, and so on, my squeaky sliding patio door startled a doe. Her head up instantly, a quick turn and all I saw was her tail up as she bolted for the hills. BUT, she left her baby behind. It hunkered down in my daylily bed -nearly invisible - but I managed to grab a camera and its spots showed up nicely on film! This baby was the smallest I have ever seen since living here.
Why am I so enthralled when I spot a baby of any species? I guess because so many creatures are becoming extinct or nearly decimated with “progress” as more and more habitat gets ruined - forests being harvested and the like, leaving no area for shelter of the species.
I will admit I feel little sorrow when I see a squashed turtle on the highway - only because for years, living on a small lake in Missouri, I would watch those turtles grab a baby duck and pull it underwater to drown, that I became aware of that cruel activity (my husband paid the lake kids $1 bounty per turtle).
It has pleased me to have a baby barred owl stay for days in my yard. I watch its parents come in to make sure it was okay - feeding it and helping it in manner of owl parenting until it could fly which took days and captivated all our neighbors.