I enjoy the wildlife I see daily at home more than any other part of nature.

It’s interesting, exciting, and fun to watch their everyday activities for survival and reproduction. And it’s from those wild creatures I learn the most about nature. They may be common, familiar critters, but the same laws of nature apply to them as in any wilderness on Earth.

No matter the season, there is much wildlife in our grass, shrubs, and small, tree-covered backyard that I can see daily from my writing desk and our deck. For example, we have a variety of birds, mammals, and invertebrates that visit our lawn vegetation, birdfeeder, and birdbaths in summer.

I enjoy experiencing the young animals of the year in our yard as they get food, escape predators, and grow to maturity. Several kinds of youngsters are on our lawn, including those of cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, opossums, mourning doves, American robins, gray catbirds, northern cardinals, blue jays, and house finches.

All young birds and their parents come to our birdbaths to drink and bathe. Youthful cottontails nibble grass, clover, and dandelions while adolescent squirrels, cardinals, jays, and doves, and their elders, eat bits of sunflower seeds on the ground under our feeder. And fledged robins and catbirds consume invertebrates from our grassy lawn.

I am also happy to see other kinds of adult birds at our birdbaths and feeder in summer, including a pair each of Carolina chickadees, Carolina wrens, and American goldfinches, and a tufted titmouse.

But I haven’t seen the young of these species, though they must nest in our neighborhood since they come to our baths and feeder daily.

From our deck during the day, I see several kinds of birds in the sky over our neighborhood. Chimney swifts power swiftly on swept-back wings across the sky after flying insects. Each bird alternately flaps and soars, swirling this way and that in hot pursuit of aerial prey. Sometimes I see a red-tailed or Cooper’s hawk or a turkey vulture soaring over our deck.

And from the deck at dusk, we see a few bats through summer, and many blinking fireflies during evenings. Both species are entertaining wherever spotted.

I get much enjoyment from common wildlife at home. Readers can do the same by checking their yards or neighborhoods for wild creatures.

Clyde McMillan-Gamber is a retired Lancaster County Parks naturalist.

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