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Cycling Among Wildlife

Old 07-29-15, 02:47 PM
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berner
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Cycling Among Wildlife

I live in the small town of Bristol, Rhode Island, right along Narragansett Bay. The Bay attracts lots of bird life from ducks, geese (millions of them) and recently, quite a few ospreys which can be seen tending their young ones in nesting platforms put up by the Audubon Society. The ospreys can also frequently be seen flying with a fish in their claws. Since the bike path here parallels the bay, many animals and birds can be seen from or live along the bike path. There are feral cats, chipmunks and squirrels, woodchucks and two days ago, a deer, in town, running ahead of me. The geese seem to tolerate close proximity to people. I've hand fed a pair that befriended me who lived on a fresh water pond at next town north. Every pond along the path, either a fresh water or salt water, has some resident wild swans, although I don't understand how they get up off the ground. Those suckers are really big and can be mean.

I don't understand where all these animals are coming from. As a boy, living in a very rural part of New York State, where a few farmers were still using horses in their fields, there were a few deer about but that was it. Now, there are even many wild turkeys, in town when, growing up, even in very rural country, there were none. I enjoy having those animals around. It makes the planet more interesting.
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Old 07-29-15, 07:27 PM
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7 years ago my sone and friends were cycling in a state park. On a long slope they were doing 30mph when a deer jumped out, they missed it but one guy hit the second one. Bike was in pieces, broken collar bone, hand and other injuries. The deer stumbled off and died a few feet in the woods.

Yes.. wildlife is wonderful. Just watchout for them.
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Old 07-29-15, 10:34 PM
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That's something I love about riding in rural Minnesota and Wisconsin, all the wildlife. Last night I was coming home at dusk and saw twin whitetail fawns just losing their spots. Deer are a common sight as are foxes, rabbits, squirrels and turkeys. Around the numerous small lakes there are lots of ducks, geese, swans, cranes, hurons, and loons. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to see a bald eagle or a moose.
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Old 07-30-15, 04:38 AM
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I am a recreational rider, and it is seeing all the critters that makes the rides so much more enjoyable. I try and get pictures when I can. Not uncommon for me to stop and just watch the eagles soaring above. I grew up in IL and eagles were endangered when I was a kid. Now living in west central Wisconsin, they are pretty common, but I am mesmerized by them. This spring I came upon a fawn that was along the roadside, had to have been born that morning as it was so small and had a wobble in its walk from the roadside to the treelike. Yup, I enjoy the wildlife watching on my rides!
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Old 07-30-15, 05:10 AM
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I live in far Northern Minnesota. A few years back I was barreling down a long grade on a rails-to-trails path through he woods. I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye and the next thing I knew a black bear running full speed down burst out of the underbrush moving across my path. I just had time to touch the brakes and missed the bear by inches. I often reflected on the outcome of being entangled with a frightened bear and a broken bike. I also had a partridge take off from the side of this same path and fly through my front wheel. I didn't fall but the poor bird simply exploded into a cloud of feathers. Ah, Nature!
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Old 07-30-15, 10:02 AM
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berner
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While seeing wildlife is a charming experience, it can be hazardous. Last year a cyclist died in a nearby town after hitting a dear. This happened on a flat area, with somewhat busy traffic, where speed was unlikely to have been over 20 mph. The account of this incident that appeared in our club newsletter did not say if it was a buck with antlers.
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Old 07-30-15, 12:20 PM
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Making the effort to "escape" the rigors of urban cycling often affords me the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife in a natural setting undisturbed by my passing. It is one of many pleasures my time on 2 wheels affords me that I wouldn't otherwise have. None the less, a rider still needs to be fully aware of and engaged in his surroundings. It isn't just the occasional misguided bear or panicked deer that can pose a threat. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a mildly confused ground squirrel can turn an otherwise thrilling descent into a terrifying test of bike handling skills.
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Old 07-30-15, 12:43 PM
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I ride in rural areas near my house out in the boonies and see wildlife daily. Deer, turkey, coyotes, racoons, possums, armadillos, skunks, feral hogs, roadrunners, rabbits, snakes, tons of birds, horses and cattle along with the dogs that chase me everyday. Just saw this new bird this morning and was fired up about it:



I think it was a common Nighthawk. It hovered over my head a while then went on.

Last week I was riding in near New Braunsfels/Gruene, Texas and saw 15 deer on a 20 mile ride. A good sized doe jumped out in front of us and damn near hit the guy next to me, but thankfully it missed us. We inadvertently chased its yearling down the road a while before it realized it didn't have to run directly away from us to escape.

Seeing wildlife is one of the big reasons I ride.
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Old 07-30-15, 04:28 PM
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Wild turkeys, grey herons, egrets, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer, skunks, racoons, turkey vultures, and the inevitable squirrels and rabbits. During the bad drought spell a few years back, there was even a wild coyote wandering around in the area, including in my own back yard. Somehow they lose their air of dignity, when you see them doing the "sit-n-scoot" on your lawn...
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Old 07-30-15, 04:40 PM
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I'm envious. Do packs of killer Chihuahuas count?
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Old 07-30-15, 06:13 PM
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I see deer all the time in certain parks on Long Island when mt. biking as well as a lot of Ospreys on the ride to Jones Beach, NY.

For 10 summers I lived in Santa Fe, NM and saw; A lot of rattlesnakes on the trails in May, sunning themselves in the late mornings. A hawk fly right next to me when I startled him as he sat on a fence post. A big horn sheep on Tesuque Peak. An elk cow on the South Boundary Trail in Taos. A "cinnamon" bear, which is a southwestern version of a black bear and which is reddish in color, on a trial south of Taos.

And this guy on a bike path in Bethpage, Long Island, NY. The photo doesn't show how big is was and all the scars on his shell. He (I assume) is an old fellow.
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Old 07-30-15, 06:41 PM
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I saw three deer on the bike path just north of Poppasquash next to the Osprey nest last summer. The hide in the drainage ditch just on the east side of the path. I ride after dark usually twice a week. Saw a Coyote north of Colt S. park late at night. A few years ago I got dive bomed repeatedly by a Pair of huge Falcons (Perrier?) on the M. H. bridge(got some good photos). Only when I passed one spot, only in the spring. I think when the young ones left the nest they moved on. Plenty of foxes there. Also up here in E.P. Even in the day time. In the park next to the pond on the bike path where the geese block it, coyotes took down a deer. I saw two there during the day with the dog. I've seen Osprey take fish in the pond too. Got a couple of lousy quality photos. I have seen many times in the pond, at least one snapping turtle bigger than a 700c wheel. Also saw one, and a deer on the road crossing the path from North Farm to their boat house. You have probably seen plenty of Woodchuck next to the path too. I had a Racoon bigger than Bailey in my garage one morning. He was not at all aggresive, he walked away. Up here there are Red Tail hawks very often waiting for a rodent to try and run across the open expanse of the path with no camaflouge. That's also why there are cats next to the path at dusk. Years ago there were skunks on the path all the time in the dark. Now they're gone.
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Old 07-31-15, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
I saw three deer on the bike path just north of Poppasquash next to the Osprey nest last summer. The hide in the drainage ditch just on the east side of the path.
Just north of Poppasquash, adjacent to the sal****er pond is just where I saw that deer. On today's ride, up toward the north end of the bike path by Brickyard Pond where the geese hang out, I had a loverly conversation with them while riding by. I always speak to them as I want then to feel welcome.
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Old 07-31-15, 04:58 PM
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Earlier this week I ran into a pretty good sized bear on the trail. The mutual surprise made the situation kind of comical. He got over it first enough to spin around and take off like the Hounds of Hell were after him. I would have if it had occurred to me first. I sat there for a couple of minutes to make sure he had time to get away and then continued down the trail without further incident. He seemed like a pretty chill dude!
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Old 07-31-15, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
Just north of Poppasquash, adjacent to the sal****er pond is just where I saw that deer. On today's ride, up toward the north end of the bike path by Brickyard Pond where the geese hang out, I had a loverly conversation with them while riding by. I always speak to them as I want then to feel welcome.
The geese don't want to be friends with Bailey.
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Old 07-31-15, 07:07 PM
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Mostly I see the odd mongoose running across the road / path, never had any close calls. Riding on the local army base range area, I have come across a couple pua'a (wild pigs) which wanted to get out of the way. also some peacocks -- not sure where these came from, I assume someone kept them and abandoned them or they bred. Feral chickens are pretty common too.

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Old 08-01-15, 11:35 AM
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Here in Northern Lower Michigan.....well, you get the point.
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Old 08-01-15, 11:56 AM
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While there are more and more people around encroaching on habitats there do seem to be more animals running about and they keep saying this animal or that animal is making a comeback. 1. I'd say fewer people hunt today. 2. The animals have nowhere to go but to live in between the backyards of suburbs so you see them more. who knows? and/or 3. Conservationists direct efforts at nursing animals and raising them to maturity has helped populations like hawks and eagles. That won't account for wild turkey's, squirells and such though.
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Old 08-01-15, 05:07 PM
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We have deer walking the sidewalks even in broad daylight.
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Old 08-01-15, 05:19 PM
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I used to have a commute down the center of a nature preserve. I met many animals. A coyote was surprised that I could keep up with him. A bobcat was just plain surprised by me, and that gave the rabbit he was about to catch a moment to get away. Bye bye bunny. I avoided the skunks I saw and kept a constant eye open for the Mule Deer. My favorite were the hummingbirds who would come up within inches for a face to face if i stopped. Best commute ever.
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Old 08-01-15, 05:27 PM
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I have seen quite a few black bear on the trail I ride. It's a little scary. The trail is about 10 miles outside of downtown Orlando. I've lived most of my life near the Adirondack mountains in NY and never saw a bear outside of a zoo. Go figure
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Old 08-01-15, 06:50 PM
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I was out at first light once, got way back In the woods before the sun was up enough to light things real good under the tree canopy.
I came into a more open area with the bike all leaned over in a fast sweeping turn.

The two tuskers, 'male boars' Hogs, gave warning to the group and split left and right, each taking up a post one on each side of the trail about 20 feet away from me. I saw an estimated half dozen piglets and a mix of a dozen juveniles and sows all making for cover to my right, vanishing Into the dark palmetto bushes.

I finished my right handed sweeper and then the left putting distance between myself and the 200 plus pound tuskers,
I didn't panic, I didn't stop or fall thank God. But I did turn and look back, The two 'boyz' were still watching me,,,,

I turned again and looked over my other shoulder,, Gone Like ghosts in a bed time story, I stopped,, nothing but the stillness and silence...

It was a good ride.
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Old 08-01-15, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Here in Northern Lower Michigan.....well, you get the point.
Heck, I"m in Southern Michigan and I get it all in my backyard. Except for the ospreys.
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Old 08-01-15, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Heck, I"m in Southern Michigan and I get it all in my backyard. Except for the ospreys.
We have had several mt lion sightings around our locale, including my encounter one week in my treestand bow hunting. Gives me certain thoughts when I'm riding to Petoskey on River Rd through heavy cedar swamps.
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Old 08-02-15, 11:50 AM
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I love to combine biking and birding - it extends the amount of territory you can cover. On the other hand, a lot of wildlife is becoming urbanized, and that's not necessarily a good thing. Bears in the woods will run; city bears will not. I live in a major city and it's amazing to see the changes in the last 50 or so years - bears, raccoons, and especially skunks are all over the suburbs. We had a native squirrel (Douglas Squirrel) but it has long since been driven out by the large, aggressive European Greys and Blacks from the East. And for some reason the Crow population has quadrupled - these carnivorous birds feast on baby birds and probably account for the drastic fall in the Robin population here in the last few years.
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