Dan loves dogs, he has always lived with dogs. But some years ago his adored Border Collie moved to Fort Worth and for almost the first time in his adult life, he was dogless. There’s plenty of room here for pets, we live on 5 acres of live oaks and cedar and limestone rock in south-west Austin, but he decided to remain dogless, at least for a while.
And amazing things started to happen. When the dogs moved out, the wildlife moved in.
The first visitors we noticed were white-tailed deer. There were hoof prints on the paths and deer in the backyard at dusk and in the early morning sunshine. Then there were foxes. Two sleek grey foxes slipping along the fence line outside the kitchen one evening, red necks glowing in the slanting late-afternoon light.
Along with the foxes came the raccoons. And then skunks, and occasional prowling coyotes; rock squirrels, ringtails, a porcupine perched high up in a live oak looking ancient and annoyed.
Wanting to know more about who was out there and what they were all doing, we put out game cameras and we learned that our 5 acres of scrub is teeming with wildlife. From game cameras we graduated to a computer-controlled system that lets us see in real time what’s happening in the owl nests and dens, on busy thoroughfares (the critters use the paths, just like us), and along the creek bed.
We see amazing things: Skunks doing a careful mating dance in a patch of prickly pear cactus, bucks fighting at dawn for does and territory, red-tailed hawks bathing in the water pails, a great horned owl posing in the nest Dan built for her, fox pups racing up and down trees, raccoons stealing our shoes and bouncing on the deck chairs. We have seen births, deaths, nursing, hunting, and endless fooling around. Almost every day we see something that astonishes us.
Inevitably, our friends began saying “You should build a website”. What they meant was “You should build a website and stop making me watch video clips of raccoons and weird bugs every time I stop by for a beer”. So this website is dedicated to our friends (and to the critters).