The Interlaken Haus has been home to an abundance of wildlife: wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, silver and red foxes, eagles, bear, wolves, coyotes, the list goes on. Much of our day to day view gets a great snapshot at their behavior and we usually park our work stations near the 30 foot wall of windows just to get the opportunity to see them interact with one another.
A band of turkeys comes marching in formation to our house nearly twice a day. Females grouped together for protection, they often perch over 20 feet up in our towering pines when on guard and then using the height for takeoff, glide down across the hillside hundreds of feet. Had I not had close encounters with turkeys, I wouldn't have guessed they could be that graceful with flight.
Foxes can be seen in the late hours darting across the yard on a moonlit hunt. Their screams in the night will send chills down your spine, but their technique and busy body are simply a testament to being skilled in their tactics . They notice us in the window for brief moments, but their curiosity doesn't seem to keep them from sticking to their itinerary.
Perhaps our favorite visitors are the loons. Their calls mark spring as they pick and choose carefully the lake they'll be nesting on and fill the night air carrying on long conversations with one another from nearby lakes. They can also be heard concerting with the swans and it can be quite beautiful to hear if you're brave enough to stay up late enough and listen in the wee morning hours. It's also a wonderful sound to fall asleep to, but we prefer watching them in action. On the lake they are quick to show off their unmatched diving speeds as stealthy fishermen. Eager to get their fill, they'll snatch up a fish as it flaps back and forth in the water. Releasing it, they stab it with their beak and then plunge to retrieve it again. Over and over they repeat this process, until finally they stop playing with their food and swallow it whole. Right down the hatch it goes. The size of the fish doesn't always match the size of their mouth, but they seem determined to make it fit.
In Minnesota, deer are common, but usually only spotted with a quick glance from the car window or in a distant field. To see 12-15 deer come and bed down in our woods, playing or watching a mama carefully nurture her littles is a treat. From our windows you can see them cross over the frozen lake, careful to stay in stride with one another, even through the deepest of snow. They are timid and cautious, but at times feel very much at home here.
Each critter, big and small, is a large part of why we love photography. From flying squirrels, to skunks, and even the porcupines, wildlife images show incredible personality, and our interactions with them consistently crush false perceptions that humans and wildlife cannot live together peacefully. They are the best form of neighbors and we certainly welcome them to the Interlaken Haus!