Jul 19 2010

Baby Skunks

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Irony of all ironies… I did get close enough to a skunk for photos during my trip back to Pennsylvania (see previous post, Scent of Skunk). Five of them, actually: four babies and mama crossing the road! Enjoy this snapshot. They were smaller than they look in the photo (about four-month-old kitten sized).

Baby skunks, separated from their mother, after crossing the road. Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

Jul 7 2010

Going to the Birds

Melissa Crytzer Fry

One of the biggest misconceptions about the desert – especially in June and July – is that “everything is dead.” Sure, that’s when the 100-degree days become standard, and riding a motorcycle or four-wheeler is like having a hot hairdryer blasting into your face. But it’s also when lots of baby birds are born.

This baby barn owl is one of three living in a hillside behind our house.

This fur ball – a baby barn owl – was just one bluff away from the location where I photographed a great horned owl and its two owlets. He is one of three babies, but the only one curious enough to peek out from his front door this day (June 3).

A month later, I’m sure he’s looking nearly full-grown, like the neighboring great horned owlets. I am concerned about all these owls living in such close proximity, though. The great horned owl is known to prey upon barn owls when food is scarce. I hope the desert is bountiful enough and big enough for all these predatory birds to live in harmony.

But as Anatole France said, “Nature has no principles. She makes no distinction between good and evil.” I guess we’ll hope for the best!

Consider this, writers: Ever had predatory/unscrupulous neighbors? Or neighbors who live too close (like our more aggressive great-horned owl)? Have you secretly used their mannerisms and your own real-life interactions with them in your fiction?