It’s 17 degrees and snowing, and I am coming back from the big box hardware and grocery stores.
There’s a spot about a mile from my house where townhouses are going in across the street from a huge open field with patches of trees. This is where I’ve been going to see deer every night — a herd of about 20 guarded by several hundred Canada Geese and a sprinkling of ducks.
I spot a red tail hawk almost immediately, but it busts off the top of a tree before I can get my camera out, and then 100 yards on there is a Merlin which is bullied off the top of a telephone pole by a Kestrel.
Even in urban America, there’s a lot of wildlife taking advantage of edge habitat and an absence of hunters.
The massive corn and soy fields hold little to nothing this time of year — plowed ground devoid of vegetation and structure. No food, no perch, no shelter.
If you are looking for action, you go to the places that are scrub — too wet or rocky, but at least there are small trees, grasses, and shrubs with desiccated seed pods or a few green sprigs of honeysuckle.
The presence of people and commerce does not seem to be a problem for most wildlife, so long as the scrub spots are there and they still hold a little bit of food, a little bit of shelter, and perhaps a perch from which to watch the world.
In these waste lands are the seeds of urban and suburban wildlife salvation.