Strange Wildlife Behavior Befuddles, Disturbs Residents
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Emma Bartlett   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 17:39

MILLBANK – It all began with a goose. Canada geese are regular visitors to Ottoman Park, but Melissa (Missy) Highsmith knew that this one was different. “It was sitting on a bench,” she told the Millbank Daily-Weekly, “like it thought it was a person.” When Ms. Highsmith, 44, approached the bench, the goose hissed and flapped its wings in an aggressive manner. “It wasn’t going to share that bench with anyone,” she said.

One troublesome goose might not seem like much of a story, but it was only the first in what seems to be a full-on wildlife revolt in Ottoman Park this summer. Since June 2012, Millbank residents have reported dozens of incidents involving unfriendly or bizarre animal behavior.

“We have received calls just about every day,” admits Police Chief Vern Howard. “People are obviously very upset about stuff like this, so our officers spend countless hours tracking down raccoons in garbage cans, birds singing at four in the morning and the like. Animals do this sort of thing because they’re, well, they’re animals.”

Howard Dale, president of the Millbank Ornithological Society, concurs. “This isn’t ‘Bambi’, people. We haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary this summer in terms of wildlife, although we were all very thrilled to spot a male Crested Big-beaked Finch in Ottoman Park six days ago.”

But is this normal beastly behavior? Other Millbank residents beg to disagree. “There is just no call for it,” says Fran Bowland, 37. “I was walking Brownie, who is a very good dog, yes he is, oh yes he is. This squirrel just dropped from the sky and started making this awful noise at us. It about scared us both to death. It didn’t act at all cute. It was like it didn’t want us to be there. What was its problem?”

When pressed, Ms. Bowland admitted that the squirrel was actually perched in a large silver maple, and not “dropping out of the sky”. Brownie, an 8-year old chocolate lab, is in good condition, although a bit chunky.

For the time being, Chief Howard recommends that Millbank residents do not try to feed, play, pet or otherwise interact with wild animals. “Wild animals just want to be left alone, don’t forget that.” Phil Phletcher, owner of Phil’s Palace of Taxidermy, sees a bright side to all of this. “I would be glad to stuff any squirrel, songbird or skunk that anyone brings in at a reasonable price. Taxidermy is the best way I know to appreciate nature.”


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Last Updated on Saturday, 11 August 2012 19:41

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