As you know our garden is a certified wildlife habitat. We enjoy watching all of the wildlife that visits or calls our garden home. However yesterday we had a visitor and how he got into our yard will forever remain a mystery!!
While doing my daily "dog waste pick-up" I was walking along in the grass and saw this little "guy". Now, the fact that I even saw him is somewhat of a miracle because the yard is so big and he was only about the size of a half-dollar. I had the feeling I was meant to find him. I called hubby over and we put him in the garden for safekeeping. I went inside and did some research. I discovered he is an Eastern Box Turtle. They are identified by their bright orange or yellow shell patterns. You can see that our little visitor is just starting to get his patterns. A little information about these turtles: they are omnivorous and the things they eat include slugs, snails, earthworms, wild berries, insects and carrion. They are some of the only turtles that can completely close their shell to protect themselves from predators (interesting that when we picked him up he didn't close his shell.) They hibernate in winter under leaves and inside old stumps. One of their favorite habitats is in the woods or forests. Also, it is illegal in Tennessee to keep this kind of turtle as a pet. We just couldn't believe this little guy was in our yard and wondered how he got there. Our woods are about 290 feet from our back fence with the pasture in between. If the little guy had walked all that way, plus somehow gotten through our fencing, he was indeed one special little turtle. The only logical explanation we could think of was that a bird had picked him up and dropped him in the yard. Well, we thought the best thing to do for our little visitor was to take him to our woods. However, first we had to find him again. As I said, we had put him in the garden for safekeeping and he had walked under one of the Liatris. Once we found him we took him to the woods and put him down in a nice, safe spot. We named him Tuttle and we hope that he stays safe and grows into a healthy, mature turtle.
In other wildlife news, I know that at least two of the Mockingbirds have babies. I've seen one of them taking worms into the nest in the rose arbor. I can't see those babies, but I can see these....
This nest is in the Honeysuckle right next to the patio. I didn't even know it was there until yesterday when we kept hearing babies chirping. When I checked it out I found three baby Mockers. Mama was close by and started making her "don't move and keep quiet" sounds and the babies obliged.
Remember my Bluebird couple...well they had two babies but unfortunately they didn't survive. However, the couple is not giving up. They have started building a nest in this house...
It's not a Bluebird house but I guess they liked the welcome sign and found it suitable. I've watched them taking nesting material in and I hope if they have more babies they survive. They may have more luck in this house because I've never seen any other birds checking it out.
I hope you enjoyed this special edition of wildlife news. Make sure and keep a close watch because you never know what you might see in your garden!
Until next time....
Words and Photos Property of Christys Cottage Wildlife Garden.