We are grieving the loss of a Roadrunner that we found lifeless in our backyard habitat a couple of days ago. In our attempt to reconstruct the death scene, we surmise that a Harris Hawk killed him for food, but was then spooked by Lambchop and I as we were let out to play in the yard.

In our previous Blog discussions of our backyard habitat, we have shared moments of fun, beauty, harmony, and joy with all the gentle creatures that visit. We have also shared surprising and what could have been scary moments with finding rattlesnakes. We have not yet shared moments of sadness when a creature’s survival ceases because they succumb to a predator.

It just breaks all our hearts to know that it was Roadrunner, the iconic symbol of the desert. Roadrunners are such animated birds and have always been one of our favorite backyard habitat visitors. However, believing that a Hawk may have been involved, we are reminded of the lessons learned in Ecology 101. Hawks are predators and birds, like the Roadrunner, are part of their food web. If we were to ask the Harris Hawk: “Why the Roadrunner? He would humbly reply: “Why not? Birds are what I eat.”

For these reasons and more, we do not harbor any negative feelings about the Harris Hawk because he was just being a Hawk. Hawks are magnificent creatures that are so vital to the ecosystem that we should never dismiss them. We must honor both the Roadrunner and Hawk.

Ironically, our next Blog post was going to be about the Harris Hawk. A couple of weeks ago one perched on our fence and my Mom took many pictures and a video. We will share these images soon.

For now, we will continue to mourn the loss of our Roadrunner friend – may he forever run wild and free.

Incidentally, a great book about Roadrunners is called “A Lighthearted Look at the Roadrunner” by Chuck Waggin. Charles Amesbury was an artist and writer whom lived in the desert southwest. He loved the desert and all its wildlife as much as we do. In this book, Mr. Amesbury shares his knowledge of and love for these spirited birds.

When we show respect to other living things, they respond with respect for us.


Our backyard habitat attracts various visitors - birds, toads, snakes, squirrels, rabbits, javelina, hawks, etc.,

Recently, the pictured bobcat visited the Backyard Habitat. We believe he had just caught his lunch since a long tail was dangling from his mouth - likely a packrat, which are quite common in the Arizona desert. My Mom tried to record the bobcat’s visit on video but he was too eager to "eat and run." Thus, we were only able to snap a couple of pictures - as you can see, he is so beautiful.

Bobcats, like coyotes, hawks, owls, and other predators, are so important to our ecosystem - they help keep things in balance so that we do not have an overabundance of packrats and other rodents. Nothing against packrats or rodents in general, they, too, play a role in our ecosystem - everything/everyone does - however, balance is key to sustain Mother Nature's resources.

Many people opt to use poisons or traps to kill rodents whom they deem to be a nuisance. If this bobcat ate a packrat that had been poisoned, he would also die - very horrifically, since most poisons are anticoagulants, which means ingestion results in internal bleeding that may last for weeks. Poisons are a gift of death that keeps on giving, including seeping into the soil and groundwater, which impacts all our health.

Traps are another death tool that maims or kills innocent wildlife. It offers any animal that may get ensnared in them pure torture. Last year, we observed a raccoon in our yard whose right paw was caught in a rat trap. My Mom called our local animal rescue but unfortunately, they could not be of help because the raccoon was mobile. As you can imagine, it was very disturbing to watch the raccoon walk and climb with this trap on him. We could only hope that this creature was smart enough to manage to release himself from the trap.

Please visit this website for other humane alternatives to poisons and traps: Raptors Are the Solution

This post began with a quote from the Native American tribe, the Arapahos. The Native Americans are great teachers of respect for nature and wildlife. Their teachings have shown us that we are all connected; subsequently, we must honor and respect all nature. Senselessly killing our wildlife is inhumane and a waste of our natural resources.

That is why. . . .in our Backyard Habitat, we welcome all visitors and are always honored by their presence. No traps or poisons, just love for nature!

Thanks to all who voted. And the Winner is. . . . . Mabel and Her Bee Costume. Donations will be sent to all organizations as indicated, with an extra donation going to Mabel's charity, GREENPEACE.

My siblings and I are getting very excited because Halloween will soon be here. This year, as part of our Halloween celebration, my siblings and I are dressing in costumes of animals/insects beneficial to our ecosystems. We are also each representing an environmental organization that helps these wild creature.

Because we have been such good sports in donning these costumes, my Mom will be donating $15 to each of these organizations.

Help us choose which one of us is wearing the BEST COSTUME and my Mom will provide an additional $15 donation to the organization represented by the winner.
Please vote by November 3, midnight

THANK YOU for voting and caring for nature!.

🎃Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!👻

If you would like to learn more about the wonderful work of these reputable *environmental organizations OR join us in donating to them, please visit their websites by clicking their name below. Thank you for supporting wildlife!

*NOTE: The organizations are all 501(c)(3) non-profits.

My name is Mabel and I am addicted to chasing balls, frisbees, and yes, I confess, rabbits and squirrels, too!

Our backyard habitat attracts many visitors - birds, butterflies, bees, and of course, some of my favorites, rabbits and squirrels. It is a chaser’s DREAM come true.

However, Mom says N-O! to chasing my cat siblings AND any creatures in the backyard. She often lectures me on how the wild creatures struggle to survive in the harsh desert ecosystem, where they face hot temperatures, lack of water, and many predators, including humans.

Mom also reminds me that the rabbits and squirrels are constantly being chased by their predators - the hawks, coyotes, and bobcats - and therefore, I do not need to add any more stress to their lives.

However, the canine voice in me is constantly telling me to chase, chase, and chase. I would never hurt any of my friends that I chase, I just love to watch them run. Can I help it if I enjoy doing the bunny hop with actual rabbits - as in, watching them hop, hop, hop away from me.

But I digress. . .

I know Mom is right (as always!). Our backyard habitat is a welcoming and safe place for all our visitors. Moreover, it is so important to be kind to all animals. Through kindness, compassion, and understanding, we can coexist in peace together.

So for now, as I sit by the patio door and watch the rabbits and squirrels play, I will just DREAM. . . . DREAMING about the day that Mom is not watching me so that I can chase rabbits and the squirrels, errrr I mean, balls and frisbees.

Mabel, Tabby, Lambchop, and a couple of their backyard habitat friends are dressed in costume to wish YOU a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Who knew that Javelina and Cooper Hawk like to Trick or Treat?

Javelina are some of our favorite animals to observe in the backyard habitat. While they resemble a pig and are distantly related, the Javelina is classified as a Collared Peccary. They often appear outside our fence in their large family group of six or more.

Within the Javelina family, there is a definite hierarchy with the alpha male as the dominating member. This hierarchy is apparent when it comes to food. If food is found the alpha Javelina gets first dibs.

It is amusing to watch how they get into skirmishes over food, particularly the younger adults, since they are on the leftovers end of the pecking order. However, there appears to be an exception for the babies. If the babies are hungry, they can help themselves to whatever the alpha is eating without any consequence.

We have observed a lot of love in Javelina families. They will cuddle with each other, scratch one another, and roam together. Javelina also fiercely protect their babies, which do not stray too far from their mother. In this video, look for the two Javelina babies nursing – something you do not see very often.

Turn up the volume of this video – can you hear that noise? – it is the joy of BUZZING BEES in the Backyard Habitat.

As pollinators, Bees are such an essential part of our ecosystem. Bees help plants grow into a food source for us an many other organisms. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bees - along with butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, moths, and other pollinators – help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants and crops.

Without Bees and other pollinators, there would be no almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, squash, chocolate, coffee, and so many other fruits and vegetables.

Albert Einstein once said:

We need Bees – our lives depend on their continued livelihood. It is being continuously reported that our Bees are in trouble. Their decline is primarily due to pesticides and habitat loss, a topic addressed on my Nature Calls Fur Action page.

Watching the backyard birds having fun and being happy - such a simple pleasure.

A pair of Lovebirds visited the habitat today. They are pretty birds - look like mini parrots. They are also very noisy.

Lovebirds are not native to Arizona - they actually live in Africa. As the story goes, two lovebirds that were pets escaped from their owners whom resided in Pinal County, which adjoins Maricopa County where Phoenix is located. These two birds supposedly populated the area with their offspring and thus the birds that visited the habitat today are descendants of the escapees.

LOVE. . .BIRDS know no boundaries.

Like me, Coyotes are related to the gray wolf, which makes them my cousin. Coyotes are the nomads of wild places - they love to wander and roam in their packs. Through their diet of rabbits, rodents, deer, and birds, they are natural ecosystem balancers.

Sadly, like most other wildlife, humans have encroached upon their habitats so they have been forced to adapt to urban living. It is not uncommon to see Coyotes roam city streets.

We see many Coyotes because my backyard habitat adjoins the desert and is close to a mountain preserve. For this reason, my parents keep a close watch on me and Lambchop when we are outside. In Arizona, it is imperative to watch pets outside because they may become prey for Coyotes and many other wild animals. It is always sad to hear about missing pets or those snatched by a wild animal. However, it is important to understand that when pets become prey, it is not the fault of the wild animal. Coyotes and other wild animals are guided by their survival instinct just like dogs, cats, and humans.

Unfortunately, to stop predatory behavior, the disturbing solution implemented by our government is to cull the population of Coyotes and other wildlife using barbaric methods including traps and cyanide explosives. Since 1996, over 27 million animals have been killed by the US Department of Agriculture. Equally horrifying are the wildlife killing contests allowed by various states in which Coyotes are always a target.

Fortunately, many wonderful environmental organizations are advocating for our wildlife and working hare to prevent their unnecessary deaths and species extinction. Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity work on behalf of Coyotes and all wildlife. If you are on Twitter, please follow the Eastern Coyote Association (@coywolfassoc) which advocates for Coyotes.

Many Coyotes frequent our habitat - although we have seen only one in the backyard. The one that my Mom saw in our backyard squeezed between the iron posts in our wall - my Mom was amazed that he did not get stuck. Most of the Coyotes stay on the other side of our wall where our camera captures them as they stroll by the gate.

Coyotes are very curious especially with our cameras. One time a Coyote decided to steal our camera which continued to record as he took it mobile.

Some people say I look like a Coyote. What an honor for me to be compared to my cousin who is a beautiful, playful, and very wily canine.