#103 Gutsy city animals

Symbiosis ain’t what it used to be.

When the neon-and-concrete jungles crash-landed on all the ponds and tall grasses it seems like one lanky species just stomped all the others away.

Since then, is it just me or does it sometimes get lonely living in the big city? I miss the days when wild horses woke you up in the morning, buffalo slept under your porch, and upside-down possums waved goodbye when you went to work.

Now it’s just people, people, people, everywhere.

That’s why I was surprised this morning when I saw a bunch of tiny birds picking away mindlessly on crumbs and pebbles on the speedy on-ramp between two highways. Wedged between billboards, broken bottles, and glass towers, these guys didn’t have a care in the world. They were just gutsy city animals doing their thing.

Yes, I say it’s refreshing when wild animals pop into city life because it reminds us this isn’t our home — we just live here. Earth’s been spinning longer without our glass doors and liquor stores so let’s give props to city animals gutsy enough to bunk with us.

Squirrels darting between delivery trucks, pigeons wandering across park pathways, and even raccoons fist-fighting your dog for chicken bones all help remind us our paved parking paradise can still create a rich world where we aren’t the only ones doing the living.

Canada Goose, go ahead and lay your eggs behind the grocery store.

Seagull, squawk and swoop through the downtown core.

Armadillo, walk across the street even slower.

We’re just glad you’re here.


— Email message —

“My family and friends absolutely LOVE your ‘AWESOME’ books! When friends come to hang out they never listen to what I’m saying, or watch the movie we are supposed to be watching, because they are always hunched over the coffee table reading your books. So much so, that I had to buy your books for them all. Then I took a Book of Awesome to the seniors home where I work, and read it to the seniors. Then my daughter took a book to school and never brought it back because the school is reading it. So now our family is writing our own personal Book of Awesome which friends are now contributing to. Here’s to awesomeness and an end to all things negative! From left to right we are: Andy, Julianne, Jonathan, Anne, Stuart and Kimberley. Hey, that could be another ‘awesome’ idea…. “When everybody looks at the camera and smiles at the same time!” – Anne

Photo from: here

44 thoughts on “#103 Gutsy city animals

  1. Catching up on awesome things for the first time in a month, clicking on previous and realizing the first post I see is the last post I saw on the page before means there is a new awesome thing that was just posted = AWESOME

  2. NOOOOOOOOO!!! NOT AWESOME! I live in South Brisbane and there is this major tourist attraction called South Bank that’s filled with cafe’s, a convention centre, restaurants, a museum, art galleries (modern and classic), a movie theatre, etc… You get the point. ANYWAY, there are these birds called Ibises and they’re major food fiends around the area. One of them jumped on to my partner’s table, knocked off his potato gems (tater tots) on to the floor so that he and all his friends could indulge. Feral b-stard!!! They stink too and they follow you around, eyeing off what you’ve got in your hands. Damned birds.So there’s that… Then there’s the pigeons in West End… Don’t even get me started now! =P

    1. Oh yeah – there’s also like… An “Ibis protection society” or something and they have signs all over the tables saying “DO NOT FEED THE IBIS” – not to worry, though, as they seem to be fiendish enough to steal other people’s food and feed themselves! Lol… Oh dear…

    2. I remember one family holiday where an Ibis kept showing up whenever we brought dinner home. We knew it was the same one because of these horrible-looking pink marks on his head.

      We called him “Irk”, because that’s the noise our mother made when she first saw him. ;)

    3. Haha, I remember those from my trip to Sydney…walking through Hyde Park and going, WTF is that?! I live in NZ, so while we have our own range of fantastic birds, you don’t always see them, and they’re not so bizarre and slightly scary as ibises.

  3. I LOVE the possum photo!

    While I certainly love seeing animals in places where you don’t expect them, I don’t know if animals in busy cities is something I’d call “awesome”. I only live in a country town, but I’ve lost too many cats to idiot drivers, and seen too many people walk past injured animals, to think of it like that.

    But ah well. With 1000 things, you can’t please everyone all of the time. Always looking forward to more!

  4. I was walking to class one day and this squirrel cut me off high-tailing it with an entire extra large slice of pizza in it’s mouth. I was thoroughly impressed as it was bigger than him/her.

    1. A month ago, I saw a squirrel run across my driveway with a whole bagel in its mouth. And if that weren’t awesome enough, it ran up a tree and dropped the bagel, which slowly rolled on end down the driveway and all the way across the street before toppling over. Well, that wasn’t awesome for the squirrel but it was awesome to see.

    2. I have a pear tree, and one year an itinerant squirrel ate EVERY SINGLE PEAR from this tree, long before they were ripe – like when they had just started to flesh out. None of the other squirrels will eat them until they ripen more. The raccoons LOVE them once they’re good and ripe. But this one weird squirrel just got in there early and cleaned the tree right out. Thus proving the adage: the early squirrel gets the hard disgusting unripe pears.

      1. jdurley, I knew it.
        Hang out under the pear tree observing squirrel and raccoon behaviour long enough and you’ll figure it out.
        Racoons REALLY LOVE those good, ripe, golden brown pears.

        (They do hang out with a variety of other pears too, and they have this platonic need to connect with green, prickly pear types. Racoons, go figure)

  5. Oh, the squirrels. They seem to be particularly gutsy on my tiny downtown university campus. Walk past them and they’ll stand their ground. Sit still for long enough and they’ll come over to investigate. If you’ve got food, they may even try to climb in your bag.

    1. That’s adorable, Bekah! I think they should call Scotland yard! hardy-har!
      I remember when I never knew how to attach a link and you uploaded the *flying turtles* for me for lovethebadguy…so thoughtful:)

  6. A few years back, my parents “adopted” a chipmunk, which they named Chippy (obv). She became quite tame, and then quite bold. Dad would not venture into his garden without a pocketful of peanuts, since Chippy would invariably show up, even climbing up his pantleg. She also would scale the brick wall to the kitchen window ledge so mom could pass out a treat to her. Mom could even get her to come when called. We were all a bit sad when one spring Chippy didn’t come back.

  7. I just remembered a festive story:
    I have a sister-in-law who changes the colour of tree decorations every year. In the basement, deciding on colour theme for the holiday season, they came upon a box full of white balls. Standing, hands on hips; humming, hawing and miffed as they were certain they’s never had white!When what to their wondering eyes should appear… a very grande and colourful nest squirrels had made by removing all the thread off every single ball from every orniment as such, they’d bought over 20 years!
    It was funny and pretty, but not so funny and pretty at the same time!

        1. Reporting back…
          Apparently, the picture I perceived was not as pretty as the one painted when re-told, with hilarity!
          Reality for them at the time, was not momentous, but sheer messy medlum and mayhem to get the critters out of their home~ not so pretty a Kodak moment:(

  8. My kids came up with a hierarchy of “gutsy-ness” that we noticed last summer while we were on vacation. The Country Crows made a lot of noise, but were not at all interested in people and quickly flew away when a car, dog or person got too near. The Highway Crows were much tougher. They were not scared by the high speed traffic on the highway and in fact most of them didn’t bother to look up from eating their road-kill lunch. Finally the Airport Crows were the boldest of all. Jet engines didn’t even make them flinch. We named them the Carry-on Carrion!

      1. Wow – so cool that there are people who are working to reduce these terrible accidents. I never would have guessed…

  9. In a school band we used to sing “Paved paradise” with passion, and that was only the beginning back when…
    that’s why we live in the mountains, symbiosing, so to speak- to some extent, still.
    There are so many awesome stories today~ LOVE them~ and our wonderful life!
    I know, I know…that’s enough out of me for a day~ we’re snowed in! HA!
    …Peace out:)

  10. I’m an American from Boston who retired in Penang, Malaysia. Penang is an urban area with a population of about 4 million. I live in a condo next to a vacant lot that is sometimes swamy when it rains. I am amazed at the wildlife I see there. I have seen monitor lizards as big as 5 feet, small sun skinks and a variety of colorful birds. I have even seen a cobra. I walk past this area every day and purposely look for animals, whilke most people who drive or ride motorbikes are completely oblivious of the wildlife that surrounds them.

  11. One time I saw a robin fly out of the bushes next to my garage door and looked in the bushes and saw a birds nest. For the next several weeks I would peek in on the nest (without getting to close or touching it) and saw as one day there were eggs in the nest, and then they hatched, and then the baby birds grew up and flew away (not all on the same day though).

    1. This happens every year in the gable end of our garage, on several big beams in the wood shed and on the covered deck too! So smart to build where they do, under cover from the storms! So awesome to watch their new construction and every stage of nesting! We learned, Robin’s usually have 2 families in a year; only sing in the spring and fall, not all summer long…so we are sure to pay closer attention and enjoy their song too!

Comments are closed.