ESCANABA - Welcome to the zoo!
The animals are all geared up for the summer tourist season.
Please don't feed the bears and watch out where you walk. Upper Michigan's zoo of wild creatures is at full capacity right now.
Photos by Karen Wils
A young porcupine comes to visit.
By the end of June, wild bird, fish and animal populations will be at its peak after the arrival of new offspring.
Every forest, meadow, swamp, and backyard is teeming with new life. Baby animal season is an awesome time. The ground becomes a nursery. On the edge of the lawn, just below the dandelion, in a little cup shaped nest, tiny cottontail bunnies peek out.
Speckled eggs lay camouflaged and warm on the gravel parking lot. The mother killdeer bird squawks to protect her territory.
The vernal ponds and puddles are all a-wiggle with tadpoles eager to lose their tails and hop in dry land.
The canine kits are out of the den and read to follow mom fox or coyote on a hunt. Our cars or trucks might have to break for a bear cub aimlessly meandering down the county road.
At camp or at the campgrounds, Mamma red squirrel chatters to her bushy-tailed babies, urging them to come down out the pine tree and over to the bird feeder.
June is also the month when the whitetail deer hide their newborn fawns among the ferns and on the forest floor.
The wildlife zoo is open 24 hours a day. Porcupines are tree monkeys looking down from the branches with their goofy grins. Shy guys like the wolves and the bobcats hide in the darkness.
The young river otters and beavers put on an aquatic show. The hummingbird nesting right in your hedge is a small wonder to behold.
We are so very fortunate to live in a place like the U.P. that has wildlife galore. Some people who live in more urban areas don't know the joy of watching baby animals grow, unless they truly travel to the zoo.
This is the time of year when we are reminded to respect life whether it's a mouse or a moose. They are all a part of the circle of life. Wild animals need extra space when they're rearing their families. Sometimes we have to be a little quiet when the babies are sleeping. They grow up fast in the north woods.
If it seems a little zooy out there, that's because it is. Enjoy the show.
Karen (Rose)?Wils is a lifelong resident of North Escanaba. Her folksy columns appear each Friday in Lifestyles.