Growing up in the very urban city of Vancouver, the closest I ever came to encountering wild animals were the feral cats that roamed the back alleys of my neighbourhood. So it continues to surprise me to encounter wildlife in any urban or suburban setting. Yet, wildlife are adapting to our cities in increasing numbers as urban sprawl ventures into their habitat.
Wildlife visitors in the Okanagan
While picking raspberries alongside our house this morning I caught a glimpse of something large and brown moving rapidly up our street. Cautiously, I crept over to the road. Clambering up the hill and through the neighbour’s yard, I spotted a doe and her fawn.
I’m not sure what is going on in my suburban little neighbourhood. The deer I saw this morning were only the latest in a string of deer encounters. Our neighbour’s cherry trees and roses became a tasty mid-morning snack for a young buck, calmly wandering from property to property. A few days later this same fellow jumped up from behind our raspberry bushes, just as my friend went to reach for some berries in the early evening. Fortunately she has a strong heart! We watched from a safe distance as he meandered to the next yard where he bedded down for a little nap.
Not only deer make our property their thoroughfare. Not too long ago as I walked past our sliding glass doors I caught a glimpse of a furry creature running along the deck. It was black and white, bigger than a cat. Sure enough, I spotted a couple of raccoons, stretching up to reach the top of the fence before vanishing among the shrubbery.
The most unusual wildlife encounter for us occurred just a couple of weeks ago. We were vacationing in Charlottetown, PEI, and decided to walk the few blocks from our B&B over to the shops and restaurants. The heritage houses are so beautiful that I had my camera out, clicking away. A stray dog came towards us from behind one of the homes…only it wasn’t a dog! It was a fox! We were not sure at first, as it was mostly black, and I’ve only ever seen red foxes in a zoo. We stood still, not sure how wild this fellow would be. He was not startled by our presence, and continued on his way. Never having ventured to the Maritimes before, it was a surprise to learn that the most visible wildlife in PEI consists mainly of foxes.
Eyes to see
The wild animals I’ve described move stealthily and quickly throughout our neighbourhoods, so perhaps I’ve just been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I’m not always the most observant, but with ears and eyes free of distractions, I’ve been delighted by the array of wildlife making its home among us.
I wonder what else we can observe, if only we have the eyes to see.