It’s a zoo, of sorts, around here

I live in the suburbs. Not just any old quarter-acre-lot spread-out suburbs that used to be fields ten years ago, either. These are close-in suburbs just a couple of miles from Philadelphia – fifth largest city in the U.S., a million and a half people jammed together 10,000 to the square mile; that Philadelphia. My house is pretty new for this particular neighborhood – only a little over fifty years old. It’s the sort of area that, by stereotype, should be really hostile to anything resembling wildlife.

I guess it doesn’t count that there are probably more squirrels on my block than people. Or that the lake a block away is full, year-round, of ducks and Canada geese that have never seen Canada (heck, they’ve never left New Jersey) and herons and the occasional loon. And you can find robins and sparrows everywhere; for that matter, everybody has (sea)gulls, no matter how far inland.

It did surprise me, soon after we moved here, to realize that there was a family of rabbits living under an overgrown rosebush in our side yard. Of course, rabbits are cyclical, so some years you hardly see any. Other years, though, there are so many grazing on our lawn that we hardly need to cut the grass.

Still, rabbits aren’t that unusual, right? But pheasants. What on earth are pheasants doing dashing across the street just in front of my car? Do they think they own the block? And then there are the people who have to keep their small dogs indoors out of harms’ way when the hawks and foxes go on the prowl around town.

My friend D has the best story yet, though. You should keep in mind that D lives only a block away from Collingswood’s main street. There’s nothing rural about her neighborhood, and hasn’t been for a hundred years. There’s definitely nothing woodsy about it.

So what was a deer doing walking down the middle of her street?

I guess some wild animals are a lot more resilient than we expect.

6 responses to “It’s a zoo, of sorts, around here

  1. I think i live on cat alley 🙂 but i also see squirrels, hear the birds and i’ve seen a fox and i live a mile from the city centre

  2. We have a lot of urban foxes but the city is surrounded by a ‘green corridor’.

    • I’ve read about “green corridors”, but we don’t have them here. Cities and small towns just spread out till they run together – in my area, you can cross the street and be in a different town without knowing it. (Actually, if I walk to the end of my block and cross the street I’m in the next town.) We do have a good many parks, basically surrounding streams – can’t build there because it floods sometimes.

      And of course across the Delaware River in Philadelphia there’s Fairmount Park…they say it’s the largest city park in the country, more than 9000 acres. You could easily get lost in the woods there.

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