Animal talk has been replacing temperature talk in recent weeks. With spring well underway some creatures are on the hunt for food after the tough winter; others are simply migrating through. Even bald eagles have experienced their fair share of drama this season (in one case before our eyes).
But there are five particular species standing out and being noticed as they move into our backyards.
#5 Black Bear
Black bears just love eating people food (though not people). This makes city living very tempting. These creatures are pushing new boundaries all across the state from their stronghold in the northeastern third. The Twin Cities might already be surrounded! Bears have been spotted in Inver Grove Heights among other metro locations (remember they’re supposed to be coming from the north, IG Heights is in the south).
#4 American Coot
Joggers and cyclists circling Lake Harriet this spring saw what they believed to be a large flock of floating black ducks with white bills. These birds are not actually ducks (they don’t have webbed feet or flat bills) but a bird called a coot (or “mud hen”). They took an extended stay in Minneapolis this spring on their migration north. It could have been the rainy weather or the abundant Eurasian watermilfoil buffet (sorry if it offends Eurasians to call it that).
#3 Wild Turkey
Several decades ago this quazi-flightless bird eluded all human contact. Now they travel the parkways and look for enticing yards upon which to do their turkey business (and by that I mean plant plucking). Evidence has suggested there to be huge flocks in northeast Minneapolis, Fort Snelling and various other suburban locations. In other major metropolitan areas (including New York City) the birds have become a severe nuisance.
#2 Whitetail Deer
These voracious eaters are closing in on the suburbs, much to the chagrin of gardeners and motorists. Its not just unexpected appearances at restaurants that has been testing this human-animal relationship; whitetails were unfortunately at the forefront of the sad and deadly dispute between neighbors in New Brighton.
The DNR has admitted it’s incapable of estimating a number of coyotes in the Twin Cities (though the population is likely well into the thousands). These clever, opportunistic omnivores are thought to have strongholds in golf courses and small patches of forest throughout the Metro. While making their nocturnal patrols on city streets, they show off their uncanny knack for avoiding humans: we don’t see them, yet they’re here! Cats and small dogs are not safe.
Pictures via: Bob Roth — Google