Neighbors and friends contributed great photos of wildlife in December: Sandhill Cranes flying south over Peachtree Park, a possum looking for birdseed, a Cooper’s Hawk hunting in a parking deck at Lenox mall and an owl box newly mounted way up high at owl-height. Credits and photo descriptions are at the bottom of the post. Thank you all and Happy New Year!
Sandhill Cranes over Peachtree Park
Possum looking for bird seed
Possum in the trees
Owl box mounted high
Cooper’s Hawk at mall
Japanese Maple seeds
female Northern Cardinal
Possum in ferns
 Greg Thomas heard the unmistakable sound of Sandhill Cranes flying high over Peachtree Park on December 22 and snapped this great photo with his iPhone.
 Stella and Jack Wissner have a guest living in their back yard. Stella took two great photos their resident possum looking for food under their bird feeder and resting in a tree.
 Cindy Mayer convinced somebody to mount her Barred Owl box very high in a pine; we reckon somewhere between 30 and 40 feet judging from the photo. See our post: Here’s Looking at You for more on Cindy’s Barred owls.
 Jan Kuttnauer sent us a photo of a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on an automobile as she was coming back to her car from an exercise session at Lenox mall. Think he’s hunting for rodents?
August has passed, and birds are beginning to head south. Groups of migrating American Robins are beginning to appear on lawns. There was another report of the groundhog from the north end of the neighborhood and twice we’ve caught a glimpse of a groundhog-size critter disappearing into the grass on the Nature Trail. Also, we were lucky a few days ago to have a rare daylight visit from one of our resident possums.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Champion Tulip Poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera
juvenile Red-tailed Hawk
A newsletter from the South Fork Conservancy reports that Atlanta Audubon has documented over 75 species of birds on the South Fork of Peachtree Creek! It’s just off Lindbergh, very close to us, and you can go on a guided bird tour of the trail this Saturday, September 3. Atlanta Audubon has more information on their Field Trips page. You’ll need to scroll down to the calendar and click on the “The Confluence” under September 3rd. If you want to join them, they ask that you RSVP.
Well, he’s not really ours, but he does live here and we like having him around. “Why?” you say. For one thing, he’s very cool. Watch as he makes his way through our yard at night.
Another reason we like him is because he’s our cleanup crew. Any small animal that meets an untimely end will be sniffed out and eaten overnight. How helpful and efficient! He, or his offspring, been living under our deck for over 15 years. He’s shy, and our cats get along fine with him.
courtesy Cindy Pope via Wikimedia
Right, OK – the correct name is Opossum which is borrowed from the Virginia Algonquian (Powhatan) language, and was first recorded between 1607 and 1611 by the Jamestown colonists. But they are commonly called possums in the South and Midwest. They are the largest order of marsupials in the western hemisphere with 103 species.
Possums are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available. Some families will group together in ready-made burrows or even under houses. When threatened or harmed, they will “play possum”, mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal.
Opossums have a remarkably robust immune system, and show partial or total immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other pit vipers. Opossums are about eight times less likely to carry rabies than wild dogs, and about one in eight hundred opossums is infected with this virus.