Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Managing a Wildlife Refuge in Atlanta

We live just outside Atlanta, in a densely packed suburban neighborhood.
Fine restaurants, a rich selection of arts and entertainment venues, Pro Sports, 
and the Atlanta Merchandise Mart are all within a short drive.
Luckily, my talented Hubby has managed to make our property beautiful and serene...
we are pretty intense in our business lives and really need that calm space. 

We have a beautiful little pond for evening reflection and cocktails before dinner. 
Sometimes, however, it is not so serene.

Check out these Naughty Geese:

And this Blue Heron, who is NOT a favorite guest, because he is a voracious fish eater:

We also regularly have these enormous Snapping Turtles who move in 
and start eating everything that wriggles 
every single Spring. 

We used to catch them and release them in a nearby creek to keep them from murdering every small animal 
in our pond, 
including our Baby Wood Ducks!
It was classic Bad Behavior in our minds.
By hauling them off, we THOUGHT we had ended our problem.

They came back, from miles away.  Every time.  We started marking them, because we couldn't believe they would travel that far, and land right back in our/their pond again.  
But it was true...they came "home" and so we caved.  

Now, Hubby feeds them in the summer with fish scraps, veggies, 
and the occasional freezer burned piece of red meat that I refuse to cook.  
They particularly love that.

We have a large back yard that Hubby carved out of some scruffy woods and we love that, too.  Since he can't stop himself from putting out corn and other wild life goodies, 
it also attracts a wide assortment of land critters.   
Our fave back yard Wild Life Visitor looks like this:

He doesn't kill anything, he's mysterious, and he sort of looks like Rudolph.  You know?

It took years to get the rules laid down for our wildlife and they taught us a few things, too.  Just when we all got all comfy with each other and the rules were set, 
THIS happened:

Very, very bad behavior.

And then, a herd of Otters moved in and romped around the pond in broad daylight.
Gobbling our fish, they treated this felled tree like a swing set in a playground
while they were out on recess from stuffing themselves with our carp,
bream, catfish, bass and crayfish.

See this naughty head?

And this swirl he and his girlfriend made while they played chase?

I declared war.
First up - ammo.

I have dropped depth charges, fired off Quarter Stick Missiles, 
and carpet bombed the entire pond.
Hopefully, no one will call the cops.

I have left this guy and his brother on patrol - they are motion activated, 
with cackling, blinking lights, and violent shaking of their cages.
They LOVE to be unleashed.

And no, I haven't put up our Christmas tree yet.  
I'm too busy managing a Wildlife Refuge in Atlanta.

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