Sally the ChickenPhoto by: Dawn Harrison

— by Dawn Harrison —

Sally the Chicken was on the office porch as she often is, sunning herself, when something told me she wanted attention. When I bent to pet her, she tucked her body and gave me a look that said, “Well come on, pick me up.” So I did. I was expecting a very short and possibly awkward time holding a wary chicken. What I got was a very loving Sally putting her head to my chest, looking up, and cooing to me a bit. It was a lovely connection with such a strong and willful creature. Of course, she kept true to her reputation once I put her down. She ruffled her feathers, preened a few, and determinedly walked back to her feed pan. But a connection was made.

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

Bear Tastes

Dawn went to visit the bears, bearing a gift of cut-up watermelon and grapes. Teton said yes to the watermelon. And yes again. He thought it was wonderful—watermelon in March! Then she offered the watermelon to Humble Bumble Bear. He sniffed it with less enthusiasm, touched it with his lip, and Dawn was smart enough to take it back. Next she tried a grape. The response was a firm yes. (I could have told her the answer would be yes to a juicy little ball of concentrated sweetness—a preference for all five bears—but each person has to experience it for themselves.) The response to the next grape and the next and the next was also a yes. Then she tried the watermelon again. His lip curled in the universal reaction of disgust. “Like it was the worst sin on the planet,” she said when telling me about this. I wonder, was the sin the watermelon in place of grapes? Or the possibility that she was trying to trick him into eating it. (She wasn’t—she was just testing again to see if he would eat it now—but would he know that?)

Keri brought a bag of sliced red and green and yellow peppers to Huckleberry Bear Bear. He looked at the slices with caution. Picked up a green one. Tried it. Spit it out. A red one. Same. A yellow one—hmmmmm…… Then he carefully pulled out and ate the rest of the yellow ones. He curled his lip in quivering distaste when Keri tried to give him a green one again.

It Must be Spring!

It must be spring. There are little bits of Bluebell’s topknot here and there in unexpected places on the property as she begins her lengthy shedding process. The birds are delighted. Buffalo fur for nests! 

Bluebell the Bison Buffalo fur in the snow

 

Left: Bluebell the Buffalo. Right: Buffalo fur in the snow. Photos by Dawn Harrison.

26 March, 2019 – In the early, dawning hours, the sound seeps into my slowly awakening consciousness—the killdeer are back! As their sweet, plaintive cries enter my awareness, I am filled with delight. Joy. Relief. Those delicate little birds have survived the winter! Life continues!

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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