Nature in the Neighborhood

We see a lot of plants and animals on our hikes, but we don’t need to head into the woods to see nature.

On a walk around our neighborhood this past weekend, we spotted this katydid standing on the sidewalk. I think it’s a Northern Bush Katydid (Scudderia septentrionalis).


Back at home, we discovered that we have a family of Northern Cardinals (with the convenient Latin name Cardinalis cardinalis) nesting in our yard. Lately we’ve been seeing the juvenile hanging about, begging its parents for food. One parent visits the bird feeder and then flies to the bush or tree branch where the juvenile is waiting impatiently. It passes a morsel of food to its kid, then flies back to the feeder for more. They usually do this a half-dozen times before the juvenile changes location and the parents switch roles.

The other day, I managed to have my camera ready and was able to catch a photo of the cardinal Dad passing food to his offspring.


I so far have not been able to spot the other parent while one is feeding the youngster. I see the parents together, usually when they’re scolding me or one of the neighborhood cats for being too close to their nest, but never when they’re with the juvenile. Maybe the other parent is standing guard somewhere, or off getting food for themselves until it’s time to take over the duty of feeding the youngster.

There are many more living beings I’ve seen around the neighborhood that I’ve not been quick or well prepared enough to photograph: A family of red-tailed hawks, silent white-tailed deer crossing lawns in the early morning fog, a red fox walking down the street, enormous but non-aggressive (except to cicadas) cicada killer wasps atop their burrows, bold and curious raccoons, the occasional skunk waddling across our driveway, a springtime flock of cedar waxwings, the young woodchuck that I’m pretty sure has been helping himself to my vegetable garden, and lots and lots of cottontail rabbits foraging in the lawns.

I’m not a huge fan of suburban living, but getting to see these creatures in the course of our daily lives is something I do enjoy, and the possibility of attracting a wider variety of mammals, birds, and insects to our yard even makes outdoor work seem worthwhile.

Well, maybe a little less worthwhile when I find they’ve been eating my summer squash.

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