Suburban Safari

Posted: July 3, 2007 in Family, Happenings

Maybe the most redneck thing we’ve done in a while… 

We were sitting out on the back porch last night when we heard a couple of coyotes howling not too far away.  So, being (1) bored and (2) curious (bad combination), we got in the car and drove back to the not-yet-developed section of our neighborhood and did the redneck thing of shining our headlights and a 2-million candlepower spotlight into the fields.  All that was missing was a 6-pack of beer and a pellet rifle.  

Anyway, to our surprise, we saw a whole pack (or family) of coyotes…adults, pups…running around the fields hunting field mice or something (maybe cats, since we believe one of our cats that wandered into those fields from time to time was probalby killed by a coyote).  The most ‘wildlife’ I saw as a kid growing up in Stone Mountain, Georgia (suburban Atlanta) were hordes of squirrels and the occasional possum.  So finding a pack of coyotes hunting in a field just a couple of hundred yards from my house here in Decatur was quite a different experience than what I grew up with.  And a bit unnerving, since we still have an outdoor cat (who, fortunately, tends to stay away from the fields).

Still, the whole experience was fascinating for my wife, my kids, and me.  Kailyn really enjoyed watching the coyote pups pouncing on who-knows-what in the shrub growth.  So, in spite of the inherent redneck ‘vibe’ of the event, it was actually fun – better than sitting around flipping channels on the TV. 

On a related note, the suburban neighborhood in Atlanta that I grew up in, which was once devoid of anything but the aforementioned squirrels and possums, has been overrun lately with coyotes, too.  Apparently, as the city of Atlanta has expanded and destroyed natural habitats, wildlife has been forced into more residential areas.  My mother’s monthly neighborhood newsletter is filled with reports of coyotes attacking cats and small dogs (even when people are walking them on a leash).  One pack of coyotes was reported wandering up one resident’s driveway.

Coyotes aren’t the only animals being seen, either.  Deer are being spotted in yards and on highways in rush hour traffic.  And, strangest of all, a black bear lunged out of the woods and charged a landscaping crew in a neighborhood just 1 mile from where I grew up.

Remember, this is Atlanta… not the mountains, and certainly not rural.  The area where all this wildlife is being spotted contains thousands of homes, dozens of shopping areas, and is surrounded by heavily-trafficked roads and freeways.  On the north side of Atlanta, a bear even wandered into a Home Depot parking lot (in one of the most densely populated suburban areas of Atlanta).

I guess we’ll only hear more of these reports as the areas we live in keep expanding into their habitats.

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