Semi domesticated pets

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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,264
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
The Dog thread gave me a question.
Do you have any semidomesticated pets? Not sure if a pet is the correct term, but lets call them that.
Since our last dog died, we have had two wild cats come and visit. First we just glimpsed them in the bushes, so we started putting out cat food. They became tamer and came closer. Both were very young, basically kittens. After a month or two, we had slowly moved the bowl just outside the patio doors. We could get about 2 meters from them before they bolted.
Then one of them got killed by a car.
One left. After almost a year, he is getting quite tame, eats from his bowl inside the kitchen. If we sit still he does little exploration walks around the ground floor ( we have a Scandi style open plan house).
Wife can get her outstretched hand about 15 cm from him, before he backs away.

We also have 2 woodpeckers that come to eat our fruit. As we do not chase them away ( most people do) they are comfortably sitting in the tree a meter or two from us, enjoying the fruit.
They like mangoes!

We also feed a bird called locally ‘ching-ching’ real name Greater Antillean Grackle.
He has a white claw, so we recognise him well. His flock friends fly away as sokn as we open the doors, but he walks towards us, expecting food.

After wirk, I usually relax in the pool with a cup of coffee.
Swim a length, do some water movements with my bad knee. He/she sits on the pool edge clisest to me and watches. Eats an ant, a bug, then comes back. If I leave my cup he walks up to it, and looks inside.

What about you, any little friends in your vicinity that come and visit?
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
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NE Scotland
chickens & ducks?
Wild birds in the garden, had a robin for the past few years who comes and sits on the handle of me spade when I'm not using it :)
sea gulls - many don't like them but I'm not too bothered by them, they don't get too close to the garden though as the dogs chase them - I remember once one tried to dive bomb my German Shepherd who jumped up at it and snapped his jaws at it - he didn't dive bomb the dog again...
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Not quite relevant but we used to get curious cat visits. Before I met my partner, living on my own, I would be slow in shutting the curtains since my living room was at the back of the house. Every so often I'd get a feeling if being watched. Looking up staring at me from outside on the window sill was a cat. Cue a game of copying its movements. Kind of a funny interaction. It possibly knew I was mimicking it.

More recently my partner was sat upstairs in the study when the same thing happened.

Not wild but these are cats that run if you were outside. With glass between us they felt braver!

My favourite interaction has been with Robins for some reason. From the enjoyable walk around the Lake District where a lunchtime stop in a valley at a picnic table we cooked a hot lunch during which a Robin was eating from the table next to us and even from our hands.

Another time I extended a walk at a forestry site because the walk I intended wasn't long enough. I mistook 9 miles distance when it should have read 9 hours walk! It was 1pm 27th December! I'm a fast walker but the last bit was in dusk and they'd put in a detour route where forestry was going on. It was hard to spot the signs of the detour so I was frantically trying to work or where the detour had taken me when I heard an annoying chirping. Turning around to scare it away I saw a Robin perched on the next detour sign. It happened several times.

Now I like it's normal behaviour but it felt like they were helping me. BTW they evolved to follow larger mammals especially wild boars to eat bugs brought up by the boar's feeding habits. Humans are the modern boar's! It's why Robins like gardens and allotments. Digging growers help them by bringing up bugs.
 
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mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
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NE Scotland
...BTW they evolved to follow larger mammals especially wild boars to eat bugs brought up by the boar's feeding habits. Humans are the modern boar's! It's why Robins like gardens and allotments. Digging growers help them by bringing up bugs.

Yes, I remember being followed by two bird of prey [I'm no good at identification, they were not large like a buzzard, maybe, kestrel or kite - I imagine them as fairly small] these were hovering either side of me slightly behind as I was tramping along a path. They followed me for half an hour or so.
 

Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
545
606
Here There & Everywhere
Yes, Robins can be bold and social around humans.
As someone said above - they like gardeners because turning the soil brings up worms.
We like to give names to regular visitors to our garden.
We have a Robin called Eric. He too has eaten from my palm.
A mouse under the shed called Walter.
A frog called Alexander. He's also quite bold and will let you pick him up and sit there quite contentedly.
There's also a gang of starlings we have named the Stilletto Brothers.
There's a wren called Hieronymous who makes a racket every morning.
And a fox called Marvin who, when it's sunny, sits on the shed roof sunning himself.

Plus all the usual transients.
 
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Paul_B

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Jul 14, 2008
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I never liked Robins until that incident in the forest. Then I started to appreciate them more.

If you've read Philip Pullman's dark materials (I haven't but seen a film of the first one) I believe the premise is that there's an animal familiar who follows you around as a kind of guardian. That is until you grow up and can no longer see it. I think some adults can still see theirs. Well after that incident I kind of thought of that was the then mine is a Robin.

BTW if you're talking encounters in the wild then hen harrier hunting overhead in the forest of Bowland. A kestrel hovering overhead when I was sat in my car in a jam coming off the m6 motorway. It was very hot so my sunroof was open and the kestrel was staring at something in my car in its hover. For over 10 minutes!

Or the raven gliding overhead less than a metre from my head. A very slow glide down the hill. It was so close I could see the fibres of its loose feathers under the wing that moved in the air. They sound a bit like helicopter rotor blades cutting through the air without the engine sound. Then I watched for nearly 5 minutes as it glided down the grassy slope hunting and moving side to side. Amazing! It kept the same 2m or so above the grass the whole time without moving its wings noticeably.

You know anyone who thinks ravens and crows are just scavengers are wrong. That raven was hunting. I've seen birds of prey move like that.

BTW watching a kestrel feed is nice too. They hide the catch with their wings and eat by ducking their head under the wings.

I'm sorry if this is off topic but I don't have a garden to see wild animals visit. I do think stories of wild encounters are good because ppl recounting them tend to leak passion for wildlife into their words. It's probably the act of remembering the encounter all over again.
 
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mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
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NE Scotland
I see buzzards up here all the time from the car. Fairly often dear, and even a couple of stags very rarely. Quite a few Herons [I think there maybe three locally] along the river and even along the coast.

Unfortunately quite a lot of badgers, foxes, rabbits, pheasants, seagulls, and other small fury squished things at the side of the road.
 
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Paul_B

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Jul 14, 2008
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I saw a heron fishing close to millennium Bridge in Lancaster last week. Never seen them on that tidal stretch before. Almost as funny as watching one hunt on a main road grass verge. Must be frogs there
 

erehwon

Member
Oct 24, 2017
21
8
Bulgaria
Does a tortoise count? We have several that pass through our garden to eat the fallen fruit and one in particular who hibernates every year under our walnut tree. They can often be found in the chicken coops or in with the rabbits and on occasions wandering around in the house. It is illegal to keep them as pets here but it is fun having them around and surprisingly they are quite entertaining!

We also have foxes that pass through at night and jackals in the abandoned house and garden behind us that scream their heads of most nights but these are totally wild though great to have around.
 
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Dogoak

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Jan 24, 2009
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Cairngorms
My sons got a couple of ferrets, great pets and funnier than anything on the tv!

We did rescue a kitten that was around four weeks old, handed in to the local vets by the farmer that found it. Turns out it was part Scottish Wildcat, quite a character, we've got some big larch and pine trees in the garden and he was often spotted fairly near the tops, approx. 12-15m!
He was best buddies with our Rottweiler, he'd come in and they'd have play fights, highly amusing to watch and you could hear the claws coming out of the dogs scalp, he didn't seem to mind even though there was the odd yelp now and again. He also used to lay in wait under a chair for the missus to come down stairs and then attack her leg, he was a lot better with me but I was always trying to think ahead as to what his next move was going to be and he was very affectionate when he'd got his mischief out of his system.
He went missing for a few days now and then but unfortunately at around 18 months he disappeared, I think the call of the wild was too great, at least he had been neutered.
 
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Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
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S. Lanarkshire
mousey ? try whistling for the buzzards. A long slow tailing off plain note. They'll gyr round to have a looksee :D

We used to have three badgers that came to feed from the front lawn. Happily munching and grunting and shoving, not six feet from the open living room window. We used to lean out to watch them, and they never batted an eyelid at us beyond a badgery grunt of hello :)
The fox though was always wary.
Years ago I posted showing the area down the back lane that was zoned for building. It now under 90 flats in four storey blocks and the burn has been walled all along the other side like some ghetto prison.
The badgers, the deer and the weasels are gone :( and so is a wonderful wildlife rich zone.

The robins come to see what I'm doing in the garden, and there are two wrens who flitter around hopefully too.
There's a huge puddock that's made it's home in the front pond. It's become so used to us that it doesn't even budge when I'm weeding around it :)
The big wood pigeons keep trying to make friends but I'm trying hard to discourage them because they totally flatten the garden under the bird feeders.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
As the cold and snow of winter closes in, there's a "conspiracy" of Ravens, maybe a dozen, that stay at my end of the village.
Somebody nearby is already feeding them although the temps are hovering around zero C. I wait until -20C or deep snow or both.
They come when called and sit well up in my big spruce trees and watch me toss out what ever offerings I have (food scrap, dog food.)
There is some peck-order dominance happening. Mostly reinforced by a lot of jumping/hopping up and down.
A few of the Ravens are truly BIG birds. Like young geese.

They all have stopped talking now. They won't speak again until the end of February. Big vocabulary, too.
Usually by winter's end, I can sit on my front door step ( ice-cold concrete) and some Ravens will approach maybe 6' on the ground .

The tree rats (squirrels) wreck the bird seed feeders, just as soon regulate them.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,264
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
In Norway, we have one seagull that likes to spend his time on our chimney rain hat. It is fairly tame, comes down onto the lawn and waits until I feed him fish scraps, maybe 2-3 meters away.
( I have my fish cleaning table there by the house extension.)
I do not know if it is the same bird, 'they all look the same to me'. Considering I am there only twice a year, 6 months apart, I do not understand how he can remember, or even if it is the same one.
But it sits in the same place and comes down. Only one bird does that. I do not how long they live, it has done it now for three years since I got the house.
Another weird thing is that it is silent, none of the screeching the other seagulls and skuas emit.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
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McBride, BC
I think that birds have far better memories that we have given them credit for.
The Ravens fly around the house, looking in the windows for me.

One spring, end of April, I was sitting at the table and had not put out any of the humming bird feeders.
One male hummer flew up to the glass balcony door, bobbed up and down then flew to the exact spot where I had hung a feeder the previous summer.
Back to the door to get my attention then out to where another feeder had been hanging.
They remember what really matters.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Ravens? Another of my favourites. I was walking down from the colonies between bowfell and Crinkle crags (the band IIRC) when I looked back to see 3 Para wings soaring around the crinkles using the thermals. They were flying very, very slowly.

That would be a sight on its own but the best bit was five curious ravens. It was absolutely fun watching the ravens show the flyers up. They were exploring the canopies, flying between the cables and flying a few meters under the flyers upside down! They are the few birds to be able to actually fly upside down. Amazing flyers!
 

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