As Ohio Cooperative Living’s outdoors editor, I hear some pretty humorous tales about wildlife in the Buckeye State. For instance, take a look at the photo above. At first glance it looks like a typical possum-at-the-birdfeeder shot. But Steve Seitz assures me there’s more to the story.
“This possum got stuck on my bird feeder while eating suet,” wrote Seitz, a member of North Central Electric Cooperative. “I wondered why it was there during daylight. I thought it was just overly hungry, because it wouldn’t leave. That’s when I saw the animal’s tail was pinched between the two metal bars on the feeder pole.
“It was a challenge getting the possum free, as I had to pry the bars apart and at the same time pull its tail loose,” Seitz said. “Needless to say, the possum was not a happy camper, but I was able to release it unharmed —probably just in time for another night of raiding my bird feeders.”
Seitz also has a second wildlife story to tell, this one from a few years ago, and it’s more unusual yet.
“A wild turkey hen flew through our bedroom window early one spring — shattering the glass — and again, I was able to release the bird unharmed. While the hen was thrashing around in our bedroom, though, two eggs came out of her. One was fully formed with a shell, but the other was not. Anyway, after cleaning up the mess, I took the good egg and made a delicious wild-turkey-egg omelet. I’ll bet not many people can say they ate a wild turkey egg and didn’t get arrested!”
Don’t worry, Steve; I won’t tell a soul. Your little secret is just between you and me.
My wife, Jan, has an even more bizarre tale to tell of wildlife woes. Years ago, early in our now 44-year marriage, she went through a spell where she racked up roadkills like her car was an animal magnet. Over a two-year period, she hit the following: a deer, a dog, several cats, various raccoons, groundhogs, possums, a few birds, and even two turtles. The good news is that she hasn’t hit anything recently.
She didn’t try to hit any of those critters and felt terrible when she did, nearly in tears each time she inadvertently squashed something. But she became so deadly I threatened to paint small animal icons on the driver-side door of her car representing each of the animals she’d snuffed, much like a World War II fighter pilot had icons of his kills painted below the cockpit of his airplane.
But my wife’s ultimate roadkill achievement, if you can call it that — and I don’t know anyone else who has done this — was hitting a live fish! We were living along the shores of Lake Erie at the time, near Marblehead, and one day were driving across the Sandusky Bay Bridge, my wife at the wheel. We saw a gull fly over carrying something large in its mouth, and when the bird got directly in front of our car, it dropped its cargo. We didn’t recognize it as a fish until it hit the pavement and started flopping. As you may have already guessed, it was too late for my wife to swerve out of the way.
That did it — when we arrived home I got a can of paint out of the garage. Anyone want to buy a “gently used” car with some small animal pictures painted on the door?
If you have a funny or unusual wildlife-related story you’d like to share with Ohio Cooperative Living readers, e-mail it to me at email@example.com. I can’t promise we’ll mention them all, but I’ll choose some of the best for a future column.