<
>

Wild thoughts

Woodland Hills.

New Homes!

Large Lots!

The wording on the sign calls out every day as I drive by it. I've written about this area in my column before. It's Ground Zero for urban sprawl for me, because I pass it twice daily when picking up my youngest son from school.

A recent trip resulted in the following wildlife sightings.

Five whitetail deer.

Some 20 mallards loafing and enjoying a flooded low-lying area adjacent to a small creek.

A flock of giant Canada geese grazing nearby.

Two coyotes with obvious interest in the ducks and the geese.

They were all within a quarter-mile of each other. The area will be a subdivision of residential homes by this time next year. The Memphis area is glutted with houses — both new and old — that aren't selling now.

The animals, of course, have no say in the matter. They'll adapt the best they can. Or leave.

The deer will take out their vengeance on all of the new shrubbery used to landscape the homes. Initial excited calls of "Oh, honey, look at the beautiful deer in our yard," will quickly change to "Those damn deer are back eating our flowers."

The threat of Lyme disease from ticks brought in by the deer will have mothers goading their husbands to poison the yard to kill them off while fertilizing the yard too much to make the grass greener.

It will all run off into nearby Gray's Creek, polluting the water and causing a fish kill in the hot summer months when dissolved oxygen is low. Residents will wonder how it happened.

The giant Canada geese will adapt well — especially on the new nearby golf course. The population will expand, because there is no hunting allowed. They'll crap all over the greens, patios and parking lot. Club members and homeowners who bought high-dollar houses surrounding the golf course will complain and demand something be done to remove this nuisance.

No one will remember this species was once thought to be extinct.

The ducks will use the golf course and stormwater retention ponds in the new apartment complex. Hen mallards will work very hard to hatch a clutch of eggs each year. However, the new influx of local housecats will make that effort fruitless.

Seldom seen but a presence nonetheless, the coyotes will feed on small house pets — dogs and cats alike. Their passion for these much-loved domestic animals will be their end. Scavengers that they are, eventually, they'll eat poisoned meat set out as bait by one of the pet-mourning humans and die a horrific death of internal bleeding.

Years later, the area will no longer be "the place" to live. It'll be tough to sell a house.

But a few miles out on the edge of town, a new sign will beckon.

Woodland Valley.

New Homes!

Large Lots!