The North Carolina Arboretum wasn’t just twinkling lights last weekend.
There was also Buck and Bear drama in a life-sized, wildlife diorama.
These two animals had the speaking parts in the play about nature’s ways..
The old buck was reminding the young cub how to prepare a bed for hibernation.
The cub had forgotten what he and his mother had done to prepare for last year’s winter rest.
Bears make themselves a mattress to sleep on out of twigs, vines and leaves.
There were cameo appearances from some smaller stars. These included owls, raccoons, skunks and chipmunks.
There was even a wild rabbit.
I really wanted to crawl over the railing and pet these precious creatures.
The folks at the North Carolina Arboretum foresaw this urge.
There was a row of little bears outside the railing also watching the performance,
so that children (or crazy women) could sit beside them and pet them.
Because it’s really hard to resist a baby bear,
especially one that talks.
(This is in the NC Arboretum building near the fountain. The display is in a large room to the left of the lobby. We would have missed it, had not a worker in the gift shop told us about it. The short show is a must-see for children.)
Well the honeymoon is over. I was hoping we could be friends.
But there are some habits that the Flower cannot tolerate.
At first the digging was a novelty. The excavation was a source of fascination.
It thought this was just part of getting settled in.
But its been months and the digging continues.
My new neighbor has an addiction to digging.
I did not mind its sharing my cold frame until the pots started sinking into the ground.
Now a line has been crossed. I was out with the bunnies when I noticed a pile of fresh rubble under the bunny hutch.
This is not their home. They, of course, have their own room inside the house.
This hutch is their outdoor retreat from wind and birds-of-prey. It is also their outdoor toilet.
This huge pile of rocks has been removed from under a slab of concrete.
We still haven’t met our new neighbor. I tried to get Charlotte to identify him from photos, but she refused to squeal.
Mr. Flower suggested trying a trap. What should we use for bait I asked, “Rocks?”
We borrowed a critter camera that did not work. I suggested purchasing our own. Mr. Flower said he did not wish to spend money on such a purchase.
I interrupted him to inform him that I was saving my money for new bikinis for our trip to Mexico. ( Pure fiction is the perfect distraction. It throws them off course. When they recover from the shock, they are so grateful that what you just said was a lie that they will gladly give you the original object requested.)
I went into my neighbors houses while they were away and took pictures. I knocked at the door and if no one answered, I went in with my camera to check out their housekeeping and furnishings.
At one house, some babies were home alone. I took their pictures while they were sleeping.
Once the lady of the house ignored my knocking and was inside when I opened her door. It was quite a shock for us both, but she let me take her picture without a fuss.
Here is Mrs. Chickadee stuck at home incubating those eggs.
She was probably glad for my company.
That fluffy stuff is fur from my New Zealand rabbit named Barley. How cozy? I love her colors.
Here are the babies that were left home alone.
I don’t get this free-range parenting.
I’m a helicopter mom, like my mother before me.
I saw Mrs. Wren leave, so I took the opportunity to check out her decor.
Then I dropped by the Bluebirds’ house and…
What’s this? Darn cowbird. You brood parasite! You need to mooooove on.
Kidding aside, let’s compare these three nests of three different species.
All three nests were in birdhouses connected to the deck on my home. They are the standard bluebird type houses.
The Carolina Chickadee lays 6-8 lightly speckled white eggs in a flat, soft nest with fewer twigs.
The Carolina Wren usually lays 5 brown-spotted, whitish eggs in a domed nest. It looks like a bassinet made of twigs and grass.
The Eastern Bluebird lays 4-6 light blue eggs in a loose, cup-like nest. All three nests included pine needles and moss.
The Brown-headed Cowbird (not really pictured)lays one white speckled egg at a time in the nests of other, usually smaller songbirds. The foster chick grows more quickly than the biological offspring of the nest owner. The cowbird chick out-competes the smaller chicks for food and sometimes pushes his “siblings” out of the nest.
If you hear a squeaky, rattling gurgle-like sound, look around. If you see two strangers and one is in all black with a brown hood, alert your neighbors to the possibility of an impending invasion.
NO, not me with my camera. I was referring to the cowbirds.