Neighborhood Animals: What’s Yours?

This morning I read a great article about the peacocks in a Los Angeles neighborhood outside of New China Town. It got me to thinking about how it used to be that we had encounters with animals of different sorts in the neighborhood on an almost daily basis.

Today that is rare and many people are so disconnected to animals that they don’t know what to do when faced with a  live critter.

In fact, in my old stomping ground of Palos Verdes they were considered pests! So, it was nice to see how the neighborhood of Victor Heights actually embraces the creatures.

When I first started training wild animals the peacocks always alerted us to invaders and many really lost their heads when trying to steal food from some of the predators we housed–they would stick their necks into the enclosures to steal a morsel–often with disastrous consequences!

Back to my early neighborhood…our yard was always invaded by both wild and domestic animals. I grew up surfside and across from a base that now is a nature preserve.

Sea life, birds of prey, mammals such as opossums, raccoons, coyotes, and skunks were frequent visitors.

Even then I always observed the animals and appreciated the regular visitors–such as my dog’s boyfriend of the week–or the dog who bit everyone in the neighborhood but me.

My famous, “Knock it off!” worked well even then.

Today there are some people who are raising multiple animals and domestic species in their households–but it isn’t as common as it once was.

Growing up almost all of us had animals of some sort and all the neighbors for blocks knew them by name. They were also included in family gatherings, romps around the neighborhood, and in the out of doors adventures.

In my neck of the woods we have one cat who roams (still successfully surviving the coyotes) and a family of five dogs who make the rounds for cookies at the back doors of the surrounding neighbors for blocks.

There are those neighborhoods that are not critter friendly–but not where I live.

In my book these animals make for a much richer, complex, and balanced community.

So, I wonder what animals you had (or have) in your neighborhood that stir the community and who are part of the neighborhood family…why not share a story in the comments below?

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  1. Very interesting! Since you asked… I live in a small city yet still share my yard with birds, rabbits, deer, and even coyotes. A couple feral cats, too, but it’s the deer that are the talk of the town.

    We love the wildlife, but the deer are so abundant that gardens and even trees are being eaten away, to the point that a councilman proposed allowing archery hunting within city limits.

    It’s a contentious issue. Initially I spoke out against the idea since deer overpopulation is a statewide problem, not a local one that we can solve in isolation. However, every study I’ve read concludes that there are two ways to control deer: fence them out or kill them. Other methods don’t seem to work.

    What’s difficult is finding that balance between wildlife and city life.

    We’re still debating the topic within the community and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

  2. @Andrew: Nice to see you back. I miss when you aren’t out and about in the blogsphere comments!

    The problem is that many agencies only believe that there are only two ways to dissuade wildlife from invading. Deer control can be achieved through not only fencing programs or habitat modifications but through landscaping consultation and modifications, topical or barrier deterrents, livestock or cattle guards, motion activated lights or water jets, and as a final attempt the dreaded depredation permit shooting and relocation programs.

    Guess I had better add this to the list of article ideas you give me…

  3. I love to see wild animals about. Just the other day a coyote ran through my yard. I did worry about my barn kitties but they fared ok and were there to eat their dinner that evening. There was also the encounter with a ginormous raccoon. He went running over my fence passing by my naive goat who didn’t seem to mind the passer by.

  4. @Julie: It is great to see wildlife around. Normally, if they have food they will usually avoid predation at a home but it is when people habituate them through feeding or other activities that they become a problem. I’d be worried more about chickens than the kittens or goat!