It turns out there are deer but the dogs bark at them so I don't see them. There are some herds very near us, though, that we see when we're driving around. Likewise with elk. I have only once seen a couple of moose on the property. It was pretty cool as I woke up to them outside my bedroom window. We have seen a bear twice, right outside the window the of the 5th wheel we lived in last summer. I'm over the romantic image of bears now, thank you very much!
Coyotes and sometimes wolves can be heard on nearly a nightly basis. I don't mind those sounds at all except that our dog, Sadie protects us from them. By barking. I've learned that sometimes coyotes howl at 2 a.m. I don't want to stop her because it's her job to protect us, but seriously? 2 a.m.? We also hear there are cougars and grizzlies around although thankfully we haven't seen them.
There are no rabbits around here which I think is odd. I thought there'd be loads of them. What we do have are an extraordinary number of birds and bugs.
Just yesterday I was listening to the birds and thought to myself that it was very loud. Strangely enough, the cacophony of various bird song was not at all annoying, unlike the traffic from a city of over a million people. Weird, eh? I don't even know all the birds we have out here but some I recognize. There are a couple of varieties of woodpeckers; finches; robins; blue birds (the vividness of their colouring defies description!); crows; owls; and those little black-headed grayish birds. Yesterday I saw a hawk and last year we had orioles. I'm hoping they come back this year because their song is glorious! Pretty glad for the birds, not just because they look and sound beautiful but also because we have so many bugs and I want the birds to eat them.
Although I'd anticipated seeing a lot of wildlife, what I actually see the most of is bugs. And you know what? I'm fascinated. When I was studying for my anthropology degree, I was really interested in the forensic side of thing but I decided I really didn't like bugs so probably not a good idea (think of the television show, Bones). Now I'm realizing I might have been able to do it. Spiders, beetles, moths, varieties of bees and wasps, worms, caterpillars, dragon flies, lady bugs, and gorgeous butterflies. I marvel with every adjustment to the cycle of life out here and I mostly see it in the transition from one prevailing bug species to another. Usually there is just a quiet hum and flutter of wings but every once in a while one of the species just explodes!
This year we've had the dreaded forest tent caterpillars. I now loathe them as they are just everywhere. On the other hand, I'm guessing that's one of the reasons we have such a huge number of birds. It's a trade-off, I think. Someone we've met out here said, remember those couple of days last summer with all those moths (and yes, yes I do remember!!)? Here's the result: caterpillars. Apparently they love really dry weather and that's what we've had this year. Well, until the past week when we've had lots of much needed rain. The caterpillars are not all gone but there's a lot less of them. Let me just say that I can hang the laundry out to dry without being completely grossed out when I bring it in.
All-in-all it's been an educational first year out here in the country. I learn a lot about life, the inhabitants who share this earth with us humans and perhaps most importantly, I'm learning more about myself and what I'm capable of. And I still love it - wouldn't trade it for anywhere else in the world.