Urban Wildlife

I think of myself as living in a city. It’s an easy walk to two supermarkets, a dozen restaurants, four movie theaters, four bookstores, public transportation. I commute to work on a combination of bicycle and bus. I don’t live in a dense part of the city, to be sure; I live in a neighborhood of detached houses, where every house has a small yard. But it still seems to me like a city.

But at the same time we have a family of feral cats living in our yard (we are going to try to have them neutered when they are old enough). We have three very large racoons who come by; when I tried to chase them away from the food we put out for the cats they stood their ground and growled at me. A fawn who slept in our yard when tiny is now a full grown buck who has yet to understand the difference between eating the blackberries (good) and the roses (bad). I see hawks every week or so, skunks and wild turkeys every few months. And of course there are plenty of smaller animals.

To me it feels like animals are adapting to us more and more. We’ve put them under an enormous selection pressure, and many species can’t adapt at all. But some are doing well, and they aren’t all living off of our leavings. They are living around us. We’re facing a huge collapse in biodiversity around the world, but at the same time life is adapting to us as best it can.

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