By Diane Lockspeiser

As most people know, roosters crow at dawn. Other birds also sing at dawn and I have come to believe that they are mostly declaring their territories. Our two roosters make their way around the outside of our house every morning, crowing at each side and corner. There is a large arborvitae in front of our bedroom windows, and they stop near it to have a lengthy back-and-forth competition with the mourning doves who have made a nest there. Sometimes I could fall back to sleep afterwards, but most often not. Ugh!

The roosters crowed at the peak of the solar eclipse. They also crow when they find food, or if there’s anything they regard as dangerous, whether it really is or not.

I had noticed some of the birds helping themselves to the dish of chicken feed left out for the roosters, making me realize it qualified as a bird feeder. Bird feeders should not be left out once the bears have come out of hibernation because the bears are very fond of raiding them. Other pet food should not be left out for the same reason. I thought about bringing the feed dish in at least at night, but didn’t.

Staying up later than usual one night, I was getting ready for bed around midnight when I heard the roosters crowing on the front porch where they sleep. At first I thought I had disturbed them with my change in routine, but they kept it up, more and more frantically.

When I turned on the porch light to cautiously peek out, half expecting to find a bear, I only saw the roosters perched in their usual spot, still crowing. Then I saw a dark shape moving in the corner where the feed was. As it slowly waddled off of the porch, I was confused. It looked like a skunk, but didn’t have the distinctive white stripe.

Steve looked it up on Google, and read that skunks might not have a stripe if there are few predators. I think we have plenty of predators, but I guess the skunks don’t agree. I am just extremely glad it didn’t spray us!

It was sunny and warm the next morning, so I hosed down and scrubbed the porch. I rearranged things so that the roosters’ perch is a little more protected and away from the food, which I now take in each night.

No more chance of sleeping in for me. The two roosters look into the house after making their “rounds” every morning, and won’t stop crowing until they see me bringing out their food.~