Sunday, September 24, 2017

Coyotes are back!!!!

At least I hope they are--I did hear them last night, the young ones yipping along with the standard poodle, Budda, knew it before I did, his barking alerting me to something coming close. I saw their footprints on the road this morning. So excited to hear them again! Lay in bed with a smile on my face.

And then there is the juvenile Cooper's Hawk that spent several hours in our backyard yesterday after killing a dove. Not sure how I can be happy about this, but it was a thrill to watch him--here's one photo I took of him eating his kill--disgusting I know, but still--it's nature working the way it should work, not how humans want it to work. He is quite magnificent. Didn't realize how small Cooper's Hawks are.

In any case wildlife is flourishing with the cooler weather--last night we were able to leave our windows open and turn off AC--what a treat after the summer of no fresh air! Fall seems to be here. Now if I could get my hip to stop hurting I could start my walking again...not sure why it stays exactly the same--been going on now for over two months with little change. It is muscular, not bony and now I'm going to an acupuncturist. It has an emotional component as all injuries do--just wish I could figure out what it is! Any insights? Would love advice on what to do--it's deep in the butt muscle and radiates into the front of my thigh--only really bothers me when I'm walking--the one thing I do for stress. *sigh*

Patience, I keep telling myself. Not one of my virtues, I'm sorry to say.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Coyotes and other creatures of the night

I live in north Tucson very near the Catalina range. I am used to hearing packs of coyotes go by in the night, their yips and strange high-[itched calls making me glad to live here. This year they've been strangely silent. It is September and it's been at least two months since I've heard even one yip, even in the far distance. The raise their young in the spring and there is usually a gap in there before they start roaming again. I spoke with a wildlife biologist who works for fish and game and she had no explanation--she hasn't heard of any disease or any reason why they wouldn't be around. She did say they are hunted. I knew that but I certainly wouldn't think the hunting would wipe out entire populations! And I have to say that hunting coyotes seems despicable to me on several levels--for one it has nothing to do with food--the carcasses are surely left to rot, and two, they are an important part of our environment keeping other rodents down with their own hunting. I miss them terribly and have even thought of moving if they don't come back. It hurts me to realize how fragile our environment is now and how so few seem conscious of this, including fish and game who condone hunting these beautiful animals.

Add to this the discovery that the vet I've been taking my animals to for five years finds bats 'annoying', and sprayed two roosting bats with insecticide. His name is Dr. Nunn and he works at Suffolk Hills Animal clinic. Please boycott him if you are one of his clients. I have placed a one star review on Yelp and am in process of looking for another vet who cares about life in the desert, no mater how 'annoying' it might be. I happen to refill my hummingbird feeders every morning to accommodate these creatures of the night who come up from Mexico in late summer. They are endangered fruit bats and I am willing to share some sugar water to know that they are here. My hummingbirds don't mind sharing. As several people have said, doesn't this vet know how important bats are to the environment?

If anyone can shed some light on where the coyotes have gone please email me at, or leave a comment here. I am missing them terribly!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tales from Tucson!

Found out the other day that we have a 'northern' mocking bird visiting--or at least passing through. I hear him or her (or maybe one of each?) in the morning first thing, their calls intricate and varied. I had to look up their sounds on the internet to truly figure it out--the quote I got was "if you hear several different birds that you can't identify, more than likely you have a northern mockingbird."

When he flew and I saw the white patches on his wings I knew he was not a curved bill thrasher which is what I originally thought, since they also have a varied repertoire.

My husband has been on a pack rat tear after another $1500 charge for car damage. They invade our garage and the car we leave outside despite leaving lights on all night long. My car had a terrible smell and when I took it in they found a nest which they removed--luckily no damage this time! So Jim has been placing haveahart traps around--(pack rats are nocturnal) and we've caught two so far and relocated them into the desert behind our house. Apparently they like cactus and so we released them into a clump of prickly pears in hopes that they will build another midden and enjoy the solitude of the desert. They reproduce at alarming rates and are the favorite food of owls and coyotes. I wrote an earlier post about them and how long they've been around--Pleistocene era--astounding! They're cute and I wondered about taming them until I remembered they were nocturnal!

We have had a ton of rain this year so far--nearly an inch just yesterday. El Nino? I wonder why California hasn't benefitted from this weather pattern. Everything is green and happy except for the poppies which were in short supply this summer. Maybe they need to be stressed to grow?

I love the cooler weather which allows me to pick and choose when to go for a walk instead of getting up before dawn. Buddha is happier too and leaps for joy when he goes outside. As you can see he likes to read.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monsoon madness

Tonight I went out to make an offering of vegetable scraps, bread and celery to the javelina king who visits our compost heap from time to time with his subjects. Thunder rumbled in the distance, the near full moon covered by mysterious clouds that obscured her face. The miasma  of sage and more pungent odors wafted by on the humid air.

The monsoons have finally arrived, bringing high winds, lightning and rain that is not the soft soaking kind but more like it's coming from the sky god's anger and frustration--I understand how they feel. I am angry and frustrated too, every day more appalled by man's inhumanity toward his home. We hurtle toward some sterile place that feeds the greedy and has nothing to do with those who care, who love, who live close to the earth--a copper mine on sacred Native ground, drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking in our national forests.

Today Greenpeace prevailed against Shell, stopping their ship about to bring the means to Alaska to drill in the pristine waters of the Arctic. I'm sure only a delay to their plans but hooray for them. And on the same day I hear about an oil slick off the coast of Santa Barbara that is 1000 miles long. No one seems to know where it came from.

I try not to listen, I try not to fret but ultimately it is my grandchildren who will inherit this world. What do we want to leave for them? Do we want a country in which the prevailing power is corporations or do we want to take it back? What about all these beautiful creatures?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

monsoon madness!

This summer has been unlike the last three I've experienced here in the Sonoran Desert. Is it El Nino or La Nina that is causing the cooler temps and scattered storms? Or is it simply global climate change?

May was wonderfully cool and June was hot but cooled off mid month when the early monsoon rains began. The monsoons have not been violent as in past years--these rains have been soft, soaking. I know the plants love it. I have heard the coyotes just recently again--I surmise they've been busy with their pups and hunting closer to home. The rabbit population where I live has expanded in their absence. The javelinas are less noticeable but still cleaning up our compost pile--I hope to see some babies sometime soon.

My Bufo toad disappeared at the end of last year. I'm not sure how long they live. We have another smaller one now but I haven't determined where he hides during the day. It amazes me how they live at all.

Thunder is beginning now and we may have another storm this afternoon. I'm always up for it, especially when the winds whistle through the palo verde trees, scattering dried leaves and cleaning off our patio.

And the clouds have been nothing short of amazing--animals drifting slowly by and changing from dragon to bear to fish as we watch. This is the scene on my walk this morning.

I like this time of year when traffic thins and restaurants are less crowded. There is a camaraderie with those of us who tough it out during the heat of the summer months. Life goes on at a slower pace.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beauty and the beast

My morning walk in the desert was like being in paradise, the sound of birds, the smells of Catsclaw Acacia blooms and Palo Verde blossoms filling the air. I am so grateful to live in such a place.

But underneath my happiness lies the truth of what's going on in this country and around the world, the assault on animals. First it was the killing contests here in Tucson and then I heard that the Fish and Game Department is not only condoning these practices but encouraging them. Grizzlies, an animal I thought was protected, are being killed, as well as wolves and other predators. I've sent money, I've sent letters, I've posted on FB, I've tweeted. I am now going to write a letter to Obama and see if I get a response. We have to preserve these creatures for future generations. Without animals this earth would be a bitter place.

I blame the lack of concern or even awareness partially on electronic devices. This morning a man jogged by me with earbuds--listening to music instead of taking in the music of the desert. Kids are no longer allowed to wander the woods and examines the bugs, snakes and creatures who inhabit this planet along with humans. Fear drives everything. Pesticides are being dumped into the environment in the name of food production but in reality they are poisoning the earth and making it harder and harder to raise crops without them. The GMO companies like Monsanto are taking over food production across the globe and there is no entity strong enough to stop them.  Insects, butterflies, bees and frogs and a million other creatures are disappearing quicker than we know. If you can, support your local organic growers--this is the only way to combat big agra.

I have several links to share that can bring you up to speed if you are not aware of what's going on.…/wildlife-services-04-1…this one is horrifying. This is an article addressing the pervasive attitudes that need to stop.

Here's a link to an organization dedicated to preserving coyotes:

There are like minded people out there but in order to stop the government organizations and the attitudes that go along with them we all have to raise out voices.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The next installment

I wrote last time about the Predator Master's group and the killing contests. This is a follow-up:

The Tucson city council voted unanimously to stop these killings in Pima county. However, the state legislature will not ban them. I just wrote an e-mail to a Mr. Pratt expressing my disappointment. As an animal lover I can't understand anyone wanting to kill animals indiscriminately. It turns my stomach to even think about. The wolves are being treated in the same manner. There is tons of information out there about the necessity of predators in the environment--how important they are in the scheme of things. And yet we allow people to shoot them for no other reason than they enjoy killing! I say send these shooters to war and let them get their rocks off there! There are plenty of wars going on right now where they could go.

As you can tell by my writing, I am horrified by all this. And as a citizen of the earth feel helpless in the face of it. If any of you readers feel what I feel, please go here: and do what you can to preserve our wonderful wildlife. Nearly every state has some form of these killing contests, except the few who have banned them like, California and possibly New Mexico, although it may still be being negotiated there.

A group has been formed here in Tucson: Tucson Wildlife Advocates. To find out more please e-mail Greg hale at There will be a meeting tonight, Mar. 18th at 6:30 at the Global Justice Center 225 E. 26th street. It is sponsored by the Friends of Wild Animals.

May the forest be with you!