The wild things

“Carol! Look out in the horse pasture!” my husband yelled one morning last month. “I think that’s a coyote.” I scrambled to the window just in time to catch a clear glimpse of what was certainly a coyote. Before I could get the binoculars, the neighbor’s dogs ran out barking, scaring our uncommon visitor back into the trees.

We talked about it for days. I had never seen a coyote ‘in the wild’ before. Let alone in our back yard.

Then a week ago, I looked up from my computer screen to see a wild turkey running across our front yard. Just one, running full tilt. No doubt escaping the neighbor’s dogs.

Granted, wild turkeys are fairly common in the Iowa countryside these days.I see them from time to time as I drive. But still, coyotes and turkeys are not the animals that graced the Iowa fields as I grew up here. They’re quite a sight to see. What is ironic about seeing them just now is that I recently wrote an article for The Iowanabout the status of threatened and endangered species in Iowa.

I learned in writing on the wild side that the 21st Century landscape of Iowa has changed more than any other state. Our agricultural bent makes that logical, but I admit I hadn’t thought of that before. The folks at the DNR say we should be excited – thrilled even – to see these wild species. I know I sure was!

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