A Scary Night in My Backyard

 

Nearly a year ago I wrote about two weird days in a row in my front yard.

COVID and whatnot have caused an increase of general overall weirdness. For the first few weeks we were getting overrun by deer; we all assumed that a decrease in car traffic had empowered them into our front gardens, there’s been an increase in foot traffic and masked people helping themselves to avocados in our tree. A midnight knock on the door from police asking for access to our Ring camera. And several cars a night in front of our house enjoying our light show (which I love).

JY and I moved into our back in January when he had a knee replaced. We’re pretty comfortable out there, JY’s office is handy and the TV is 65″. So that’s where we’re hanging out waiting for replacement #2 to be scheduled.

Last night I was up watching TV enjoying the fresh air from the two open french doors; I heard an almighty crash near our south fence, (about 10 feet from where I was sitting) I assumed it was a bear and closed and locked the doors as fast as I could.

This morning my south neighbor sent me the following from his backyard Ring; it wasn’t a bear. It was a mountain lion. Look close and you’ll see it walking north towards our fence.

I’m not sure how much more weirdness I can take.

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Gads! At least he followed the foot path – are  (mountain) lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) part of your neighborhood?  Gads! Also why did the cops want your ring tone camera footage?  Gads!

    • #1
  2. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Gads! At least he followed the foot path – are (mountain) lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) part of your neighborhood? Gads! Also why did the cops want your ring tone camera footage? Gads!

    Bears are fairly common (especially on trash day) but still worth a FB post. We’ve heard tell of mountain lions roaming around but never seen one in the neighborhood (I encountered one years ago while hiking nearby). We are technically in the foothills, but quite a few long blocks south of any undeveloped land.

    The cops wanted access to our Ring footage (we don’t record) of the street in front of our house. They weren’t too forthcoming with info, but apparently they were looking for a car throwing debris onto the street. My neighbor was also contacted; he thinks he was some sort of domestic abuse situation (he found makeup in his yard that looked like it had been thrown)

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    You are right on the edge of the Angeles National Forest in Monrovia. I used to live a little to the west of there in Chatsworth.

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Annefy: I’m not sure how much more weirdness I can take.

    Looks to me like a perfectly normal mountain lion. 

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    A cougar was shot in Roscoe Village, a Chicago neighborhood, in 2012. Roscoe Village is west, and a little south, of Wrigley Field. There have been sightings by trail cameras too, mainly central Illinois, though there have been a few in Jo Daviess County in the northwest corner. That is roughly the area that Iowa had a few black bear sightings a few years back.

    • #5
  6. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Monday night I took Jack my dog out for last call about 11:20. We live in a townhouse that borders a 750 acre nature preserve. It’s edge comes down to a pond. Jack spotted something across the pond and I hit it with my flashlight. It was too far to tell what it was but it was making a distress sound that I can’t place. It wasn’t a deer. It seemed to long for a coyote. It had glowing eyes from the light. I never thought of  a big cat because I don’t think we have mountain lions in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. My neighbor heard it and couldn’t place the sound either.

    • #6
  7. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    My husband took this yesterday.   Seconds before this shot the critter was digging a hole in the garden.  You can see the reflection of things in the glass.  Definitely because of the decrease in cars in the area.  That and deer fawns who must be around somewhere.

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Monday night I took Jack my dog out for last call about 11:20. We live in a townhouse that borders a 750 acre nature preserve. It’s edge comes down to a pond. Jack spotted something across the pond and I hit it with my flashlight. It was too far to tell what it was but it was making a distress sound that I can’t place. It wasn’t a deer. It seemed to long for a coyote. It had glowing eyes from the light. I never thought of a big cat because I don’t think we have mountain lions in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. My neighbor heard it and couldn’t place the sound either.

    It might have been a raccoon. They make a noise much bigger than would seem possible given their size, and their eyes glow. 

    • #8
  9. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    MarciN (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Monday night I took Jack my dog out for last call about 11:20. We live in a townhouse that borders a 750 acre nature preserve. It’s edge comes down to a pond. Jack spotted something across the pond and I hit it with my flashlight. It was too far to tell what it was but it was making a distress sound that I can’t place. It wasn’t a deer. It seemed to long for a coyote. It had glowing eyes from the light. I never thought of a big cat because I don’t think we have mountain lions in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. My neighbor heard it and couldn’t place the sound either.

    It might have been a raccoon. They make a noise much bigger than would seem possible given their size, and their eyes glow.

    No this was much bigger than a raccoon, bigger than a large dog. We have relatively small deer here it was more that size but didn’t fit the profile for a deer plus it had a long tail. I have looked up cats in SC since my first comment and there is talk of cougars or panthers but no proof of life.

    • #9
  10. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    My husband took this yesterday. Seconds before this shot the critter was digging a hole in the garden. You can see the reflection of things in the glass. Definitely because of the decrease in cars in the area. That and deer fawns who must be around somewhere.

    I would occasionally see coyotes in Winnetka.

    • #10
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    I would occasionally see coyotes in Winnetka.

    This guy was here again this morning.  We get a lot of wildlife from the forest preserve. 

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    In my neck of the woords, it seems like the teenagers are not at all perturbed by the cougars. “Make yourself look bigger by putting your arms and hands up in the air.” “Make some loud noises.”

    I’m certain my feeling matches yours Annefy, and that is to shelter in place. With the doors firmly locked and windows closed.

     

    • #12
  13. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Glad you weren’t cooking or else you might have had an unexpected guest.

    • #13
  14. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Long before the Covid-19 house arrest phase began bobcats visited the backyard from time to time in the Catalina, Arizona area. I always kept the camera handy to get some photos.

    The two in the photo were not too keen on sharing the backyard.

    A neighbor took a photo of a bigger cat that was exploring the neighborhood.

    A bigger cat is roaming around in Arizona, there are two Jaguars in Arizona. There is speculation that a third might be in Arizona.

    • #14
  15. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    My husband took this yesterday. Seconds before this shot the critter was digging a hole in the garden. You can see the reflection of things in the glass. Definitely because of the decrease in cars in the area. That and deer fawns who must be around somewhere.

    I would occasionally see coyotes in Winnetka.

    we just had our HOA virtual meeting and our coyote problems were discussed. They are bad this year – we’ve woken up to howling in the middle of the night and have to go out and holler! Not sure how to get rid of – its very wooded.

    • #15
  16. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    My husband took this yesterday. Seconds before this shot the critter was digging a hole in the garden. You can see the reflection of things in the glass. Definitely because of the decrease in cars in the area. That and deer fawns who must be around somewhere.

    I would occasionally see coyotes in Winnetka.

    we just had our HOA virtual meeting and our coyote problems were discussed. They are bad this year – we’ve woken up to howling in the middle of the night and have to go out and holler! Not sure how to get rid of – its very wooded.

    We’re troubled in Monrovia as well. Used to be I’d see them on early morning runs or early evening. It’s now common to see them running down the middle of the street in broad daylight 

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    we just had our HOA virtual meeting and our coyote problems were discussed. They are bad this year – we’ve woken up to howling in the middle of the night and have to go out and holler! Not sure how to get rid of – its very wooded.

    I’ve heard them howling only once so far this year. There have been times in the past when turning on the yard light would make them shut up for a bit. But we’re in an area that’s zoned agricultural even though there is no agriculture within a mile of us (and quite a bit further than that in most directions). Houses are on lots of 5 acres, minimum, so it’s ideal habitat for coyotes and deer. Our cat likes to go out hunting at night and in five years hasn’t been lured into one of their ambushes. 

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Kitty!

    • #18
  19. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Annefy (View Comment):
    We’ve heard tell of mountain lions roaming around but never seen one in the neighborhood (I encountered one years ago while hiking nearby). We are technically in the foothills, but quite a few long blocks south of any undeveloped land.

    My wife was working in the front yard a month or so ago when she turned slightly and saw a mountain lion walking past her about 10 feet away. At first she thought it was  a bob cat then saw the long tail.  We live in the foothills above Tucson and see wildlife but mountain lions around here are mostly nocturnal.  There was  a body found on a trail about a mile north of us.  A family of three lions were feeding on the body which was that of someone who was just collapsed and died. No evidence of foul play. The lions were euthanized, which was sad.  Someone with a trail camera saw them last winter.

    • #19
  20. Acook Coolidge
    Acook
    @Acook

    We are in a bedroom community south of Denver, on the plains, not in the mountains, and people on our Next Door app post pictures of bobcats, coyotes and bears frequently, and occasionally mountain lions. I’ve had to quit feeding the birds during the summer because the bears get the feeders too often. Either that or bring everything in at night. Lost a cat to something a few years ago, probably a coyote, but a mountain lion had been spotted in the area about that time. The only thing I’ve seen with my own eyes was the big bear on on the back patio last summer going after the hummingbird feeder. Just a glimpse, but it was enough!

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The last two winters (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) have been much warmer than usual. No, not global warming caused by our lawn mowers. :-) Just the routine fluctuations in weather conditions from one year to the next and one decade to the next. I believe that’s what has caused the virus to spread. It could also explain the locust problem in Africa.

    In the Northeast, there has been less snow and shallower freezes for two years in a row. Last year, we had a bumper crop of bunnies. Everyone was talking about it. Extremely good winter and spring for rabbits. We all love the little bunnies, but they eat everything in sight. That’s why everyone was talking about them. I predicted nature would respond this summer to the abundance of food last year for coyotes and other large mammals with a bumper crop of those larger animals.

    So last year the smaller animals proliferated. This year it will be the bigger animals like coyotes.

    There’s that classic calculus problem of rabbits and foxes on an island. :-)

    I’d urge everyone to be extra careful around the large wildlife and outdoors in general because the increase in the population of the larger mammals will be accompanied by an increase in insects like mosquitoes and other parasites like ticks that carry blood-born pathogens. The large animals are responding to the warm weather just as human beings are, and they are probably incubating some diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever at a higher-than-usual rate.

    The Wuhan virus, and now its mutations, spread like a wildfire because of the warmer-than-usual winters. The same thing, on a more geographically oriented scale because moose don’t travel on airplanes from China to Boston, thank goodness, could very well be brewing in the animal and insect kingdoms.

    So stock up on lots of DEET. :-) And I would expect rabies to be more prevalent this year than usual. Just because of the warmth and increase in the numbers of the larger mammals. And the larger mammals will be in our neighborhoods more because of the stillness of the locked-down economy.

    That’s my guess for this summer. :-)

    • #21
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    These weather cycles always seem to last from two to three years. Over the last twenty years on Cape Cod, we’ve had drought periods and rainy periods that lasted two to three years. My husband credits El Nino and La Nina. :-)

    I was talking to my dad a few years ago about these long-running weather cycles, and he said that’s what happens in California too. He lived in Orange County. He said, “We get a couple of years of rain, and that makes the grasses grow a lot. Then a couple of years of drought. Those long dry grasses take nothing to ignite into wildfires.”

    Last December, I was digging in my garden right up until Christmas. And I remember vividly thinking to myself, a mother of three kids I had brought up through the bad cold and flu years when our whole family would sometimes get sick in February and March, “Oh, no. This is going to be a terrible year for colds and flu.” Wow, did I call this one! :-)

    • #22
  23. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Wow, Annefy!!!! GAH!

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This article just came across my news feed. It is about the unusual number of virus outbreaks around the globe. I’m sure it is because of unusually warm winter that occurred last winter. Despite how the environmentalists spin this news, it simply a fluctuation in the weather, and it’s probably a two- to three-year cycle. If we’re lucky, this is year 2, and perhaps it will get back to normal next winter. I say that because it is the second year I’ve noticed it being warmer than usual in my gardening life. :-)  

    • #24
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