I imagined that when we came out to the country we would be able to get close to wildlife. I imagined deer as far as the eye could see and the occasional moose wandering across the fields on a misty morning. Maybe it was all the childhood Disney movies – but I imagined a world where the animals would be plentiful and absolutely adorable. Sure, the birds and the bugs are pretty amazing – but I was thinking deer, coyotes, beavers, elk, moose and even the occasional cougar or bear! After hours spent looking out across our land for even a quick sighting of anything with fur or hair – I have come to the conclusion that the wildlife is there but it is invisible.
The wildlife is plentiful and always there – we just can’t see it in the way that I had imagined. Instead we have to find evidence of its existence through the telltale signs: droppings, tracks, tuffs of fur, and feathers.
I know there is deer. I have actually seen deer a number of times but most visits to the cabin they remain hidden. Even when I don’t see deer – I know they are there because I have seen their droppings.
I know there are foxes. I have never actually seen one but much like ghost hunters who set up their cameras and microphones in haunted houses and then try to capture evidence of the ghosts who are allegedly haunting the innocent family – we have set up our cameras to capture the invisible wildlife. One time we captured a fox with our camera who was actually sniffing right around our backdoor. His ghostly image taunts us – I am here but you will never see me!
I know there are coyotes. These we have heard howling away in the twilight, but we have never seen one on our property. Much like the fox, we have captured our evidence on film. Late at night when we are not at the cabin – a coyote has been coming right to the front lawn to eat crab apples off the ground.
I know there are ring necked pheasants though I have never seen one. I was out walking in the stubbly field after the crop had been harvested and I found a large number of feathers from an abandoned nest. After researching the feathers online – I am of the opinion that we have ring necked pheasants.
I know there are moles – though I have never seen one. In the morning there are usually fresh mole hills in the fields and pastures. These industrious animals work all night to dig up fresh dirt but they never show themselves in the daytime.
I know there are rabbits – quite a few of them – though I have only had the occasional sighting. I know they are there because there are a lot of rabbit tracks on the driveway when we have fresh fallen snow. Either there is one extremely active rabbit or else we have quite a few. Our Invisible rabbits.
My delusional fantasy of regular wildlife viewings has had to be tempered by the reality that for the most part the wildlife is very skilled at being invisible. I have a new respect for these noble but invisible beasts.