Ramble On

Friday, August 5, 2011

Seasons of the Road Kill: Inaugural Post

Since we started coming out to Hawksbill Cabin four years ago, Mary and I have marvelled at the incredible variety of wildlife out there in Page County.  You've got your big animals, bears and such, but those are rare sightings that you have to seek out.  Deer are ubiquitous.  And then there is a full zoo's worth of other creatures great and small.

It wasn't long before we started noticing how many of the animals get hit and killed on the road.  Sometimes the carcass falls into a peaceful repose - my friend Kelly once said of one of these, "Oh, look at the sleeping kitty cat on the side of the road!"  At other times, you get a clear sense of something violent happening out there in the middle of the night.

There is something of a phenomenon going on with all of this.  From month to month, as you progress through the year, you get the impression of mass suicide by the various species, because all the animals tend to be of one type or another.  Over the course of spring, starting in March, you might see only dead squirrels, then raccoons, then opossums, and finally skunks, before the summer takes over and it's something else. 

Since we first noticed the seasonal migrations to "the other side of the road," I've been wanting to document the calendar year with my sightings, and so here we have the inaugural post.  Out of respect for the wildlife (not to mention the readers, if I have any) I won't share photos of what I am seeing out there.  It will simply be a listing, with the number of sightings for that given species.

I don't know what season of road kill we are in right now, but I will be more attentive.  What I will offer today, as an alternative, is a list of all the creatures I have nearly hit (and therefore remain alive - technically not road kill) on the roads this week since I have been spending some time out here in Page County:

1.  A juvenile copperhead (this is the sole confirmed kill of the week, up in Warren County, I couldn't avoid it).
2.  An opossum (after seeing it, I know why so many are killed - they don't pay attention to anything in the night except for the scent they are following; this was a near miss).
3.  A bat, which swooped down out of the sky towards my windscreen as I crossed the Overall Run bridge on 340 (this was a possible kill, as it struck the top of the car - no "residue" of the impact was detected).
4.  A small rodent - a chipmunk maybe, as it seemed bigger than a mouse.
5.  A screech owl (I'm figuring it had landed for some prey that I couldn't see.  For the record, that is my strangest sighting to date).
6.  A box turtle (this one was making it's way across the road as David and I drove to the Dayton Auction on Tuesday morning).

More to follow.  So stay tuned.

No comments: