Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Memes, Memories and Critters

I was going over the latest Camera Critter posts when one set my brain in motion and brought to the top, an almost forgotten memory.

It came from about six and half years ago. Earlier in the year, we had moved from Prineville, Oregon to Redmond, approximately 20 miles to the west. Our new place was closer to my sister which made my mother happy.

It was a nice place. The house was tucked back in the junipers about 400 feet from the road and on about nine acres of juniper and scrub land. To get to it, you had to travel a winding, gravel road which was cut through the trees.

One evening I was going to the store and driving along the driveway heading towards the main road. At one point in the driveway, I had to turn to the left, then back to the right. I had the habit of making the left turn, then looking to the right to make sure no one was heading my direction from the road. On this particular day, I made the left then glanced to the right. As I did, a large object streaked past the left side of the car and into the trees. I looked over, but didn't see anything, so I continued on my way.

When I returned home, I drove along the driveway to the spot I saw the streaking object and stopped. There was still enough light to see things, so I got out of the car and looked around. As I looked on the ground for tracks, I stopped, stared and blinked my eyes several times.

I was looking down at perfectly formed three-toed tracks about five inches long and three or four inches wide. I knew they were bird tracks, but what type, I couldn't figure out. I got back in the car and drove the 200 feet to the house and inside, found my nephew there watching television.

I asked him to come with me and we walked down the drive to the spot where I saw the tracks and I pointed them out to him. He looked at them and realized they were bird tracks also...large bird tracks at that. Puzzled, we walked back to the house. On the way there, I said, "They're probably Raptor tracks." Nothing much was said after that about the tracks, but I did tell my mom to keep an eye out when traveling the driveway and mentioned what had happened to me.

Several days later, I was again traveling the driveway, this time in the late afternoon and as I headed towards the main road, I caught a glimpse of something large moving in the trees to my left. I stopped the car and couldn't believe what I was seeing.

There in all his splendid glory was a male Peacock, strutting around like he owned the place. I put the car in reverse and backed down the driveway, went into the house, grabbed my camera and called for my mom. We went out the back door and there in an opening just past one of the sheds, was the Peacock. I took a couple of photos and mom and I watched him, speculating on where he came from.

We decided he came from a place called Petersen's Rock Garden which was about five miles or so to the south of us. He could have actually come from any where, but the rock garden was the only place we knew which had Peacocks running loose.

Well, we started to see more and more of the Peacock and found he enjoyed eating the food we put out for the deer and birds. He would come right up the to house and scare everything away and begin eating out of the tins and feeders we had around the house.

For the rest of the time we lived in that house, the Peacock was a regular visitor. It would come by and if no food was found, squawk and continue on. If animals were eating, it would fan its tail and flapping its wings until they ran off and he would go in and start eating. Mom loved watching him as he strutted around the house. Although he had no fear of coming close to the house as the window shot above shows, we couldn't get much closer than 20 feet to him outside before he would turn and run.

When the place we lived in was sold, we moved into town to an apartment buildings. On visits to my sister who live about a quarter mile to the north of us, we would see the Peacock across the roadway, in the trees strutting about. Every time I saw it, it would remind of that first time I sort of saw it.

Then one day while visiting my sister, my mom asked if they had seen the Peacock lately. They hadn't and there was a reason for it. It had been shot. The bird we had enjoyed so much when we lived in the area, was considered a nuisance to the new people in the area. It made too much noise and tore up too much stuff in its search for food. So one day, the neighborhood was made a quiet place again.

The Peacock has been gone for years now, but I can't help but think the problem others had with it, was caused our willingness to feed and keep it around. I sure hope they didn't consider the dozen or so deer who hung out around our old place a nuisance also.


Gretchen said...

Beautiful bird. :)

Tammy said...

Someone shot it! That's horrible! Is that legal to shot one?

mrsnesbitt said...

How very very sad.

Elsie is healing thanks, but her ways are not! She continues to stalk poor Wilma!

Vic Grace said...

What a shame. How is it that many people have to shoot everything they see. We live in an area where hunting is prevalent. I am not against hunting for food if you need to but I hate to see people hunt just to have a set of antlers.