Friendly wildlife encounters

Have you ever had any close-up encounters with unexpectedly friendly wildlife? Like maybe a bird or pretty insect landing on you for example? What happened? c: Feel free to drop your observation links if you have any photos of it btw!

Just a few weeks ago I saw a polyphemus moth for the first time. It was pretty skittish but I was still absolutely elated at what I assumed would be a once-in-a-lifetime meeting. I wasn’t expecting a visit from another very sociable visitor tonight but here we are! :D

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say hello to Archimedes
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63298409
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63305637

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Aww he’s beautiful! ^^

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I had an interesting encounter with a Western fence lizard on a hiking trip at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in California. I noticed the lizard peeking at me from the side of the trail while I was taking a rest. I got close and crouched down next to it and it didn’t run away. On a whim, I put my hand out in front of it, it cocked its head and eyeballed me for a few more seconds, then it jumped right into the palm of my hand! I stood up and let it ride around for a little bit at the end of my arm. It bailed out before I could get a picture, but it made my day :lizard:

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Quite a few times I’ve rescued animals and had them refuse to leave afterward, especially birds and lizards.

One of the funniest was a Western Fence Lizard I found in a swimming pool. I pulled it out and let it sit on the back of one of my fingers. We were having some wine and grilling some food. About an hour and and a half later it was time to go inside to eat and the lizard was still on my finger. I took it over to a low bush so it could get off. It didn’t move. I tried gently scraping it off on one of the branches and flattened its belly to my finger and grabbed on tight. I got a twig between the lizard and my finger and it just crawled over the twig and back onto my finger. Took me a long time to get it to stop hanging onto my finger.

I’ve had deer come up to try to lick salt off of my face when I’m sleeping, young skunks wander over to check out my shoes and watch what I’m doing, curious pufferfish decide they’re going to chaperone me around the reef on a dive, chipmunks decide that in my lap or on my trousers was a safe place to sit and watch what’s going on, etc.

I used to have butterflies land on me pretty often, but that hasn’t happened for a while.

One of my favorite experiences was on a short hike in the hills in Southern California. I stopped to sit in the shade for a bit where there was a little breeze, and a few minutes after I did a pair of foxes came out of the bushes and sat down about an arm’s reach from me. They didn’t move when I took a drink of water, and we sat together for maybe 5 minutes, after which they got up, and trotted away, with one of them giving me a quick look as though it was saying, “Take care, see you later.”

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A couple of friendly Odonata encounters come to mind last summer.

The first was while walking around a lake bordered by dense native forest. There were swarms of Red Damselflies that would land on any available sunny spot. Holding my hand out still in a shaft of sunlight would coax at least a few to land on my hand within a minute. My sons were delighted with this discovery and we had to stop at every sunny spot on the track from that point on to try it out.

The other encounter was later the same day walking next to a river. My son spotted a Giant Dragonfly next to the track. As I was getting my phone out, it flew towards him and landed on the rim of his cap. Just as I was about to take its picture it flew off… and landed onto my cap! I was quick enough to turn on the selfie camera and get a photo.
Directly after that photo, it tried to land on my wife’s head, but she… didn’t appreciate that, so it darted off and we didn’t see it again.

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magical encounters indeed

This doesn’t involve wild life, but it was damned odd. Many years ago I was sampling a corn field for cutworms. I was across the road from the farm house and could see a turkey down the driveway. It was about 30 - 40 meters away, and it started walking towards me. It walked down the driveway, across the road and through the ditch. I was starting to get mildly concerned, but kept poking through soil. The bird walked up to me, leaned against me with its chest, then turned around and walked back to where it had started. To this day I have no idea what that was all about.

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My goodness, you have quite a special affinity with wildlife!

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Gilda and I became quite close onc year. I named her after Gilda Radner for her beautiful eyes. We visited most every day and she would readily crawl onto my hand for a walk around the patio.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/58577754

She developed a pinkish hue from eating so many pink aphids on the guara flowers:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/56070496

in the mid-90s, while visiting Mendocino, I saw a very busy bird feeder outside a shop. The birds looked so happy and unconcerned about people walking right by. I walked closer and pointed for my husband to take a picture of it. A bird landed on my finger. Then another on my hat. Then, possibly a dozen used my outstretched arm, head and shoulders for a perch. Next thing, other tourists were taking pictures of me grinning and covered with the little birds (probably sparrows)! Somewhere in the depths of a photo box somewhere we have a print. I should try to find it someday to make an observation.

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It’s not uncommon to have jumping spiders leap towards me and explore my hand while I’m trying to photograph them.

Euophrys kataokai hanging out on my thumbnail:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/11262446
Harmochirus brachiatus that hopped onto my fingers:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/6869404
Orienticius vulpes that took some convincing to jump off me before I started work:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/6271793
Heliophanus lineiventris walking around my watch:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/11145686

I was pleasantly surprised when an Ischnura elegans damselfly waited patiently on my shoe as I moved my foot around to get a couple of photos: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13331098

While trying to get a photo of a Cigaritis takanonis butterfly on the ground at a soccer game it flew up and away before eventually coming back to rest on my hand: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28345674

After an appointment at the hospital I walked around the nearby forest and spotted a Yungipicus kizuki pygmy woodpecker that I knew I would have trouble photographing with my macro lens – until, much to my delight, it worked its way down to the very base of the tree trunk in front of me: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/71482197

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We were at a seaside campsite north of Port Macquarie NSW Australia eating dinner in the dark when I looked up and saw a Dingo sitting by my wife’s right side as if it were a house pet. I shooed it off. We slept the night in our little tent without much after thought.

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My coolest encounters have not been entirely unexpected, like the Red-breasted Nuthatches I taught to eat out of my hand. I also met a Canada Jay which did the same thing when I offered it some bread, which was surprising, but only a little, since I’d heard that they often learn to accept handouts from campers. Other interactions usually involve Jumping Spiders, who often climb or jump onto my hand while I’m photographing them.

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Are you secretly a disney princess? :o Lepidopterans seem quite fond of me as well but I haven’t had as much luck with mammals! ^^


Need I say more?

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Ha, no, but I have spent a lot of my life outdoors and work in a field that keeps me exposed to wildlife on top of that.

I’ve also had plenty of less friendly experiences, but that’s mainly when there has been some sort of stress involved, like trying to recapture an escaped primate.

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We currently have two cottontail rabbits in our yard that let us walk up as close as four feet from them without spooking. One day, I was working on something on the patio, and stepped back to survey the progress, and almost stepped on a rabbit that had been watching me.

We were at a sailplane contest in southern Georgia (USA) years ago. On an iffy weather day, all the gliders were assembled and on the runway, but everyone was sitting in whatever shade they could find. The infield of the airport was soggy from recent rains, and there were lots of dragonflies zipping around. If you held your hand up with one finger pointing, they would come and land on you. Somewhere, I have a photo of four people with dragonflies on their hands at the same time.

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Wow that’s really lucky, I haven’t had much luck with dragonflies! :D

I happen to drive the same model and colour of vehicle as the irrigation manager of a local plantation. Every day he does his rounds checking for leaks and flushing valves by turning them on and off briefly. In the dry season, birds follow his vehicle around to drink the puddles that he creates; or my vehicle in order to screech at me in outrage for not doing the same. Eg. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/57204885

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I was cleaning out a cooler with a scrub brush and a hose. and a female white tailed deer, put her head over my shoulder so see what I was doing.
We had a green belt that ran through the back, and we some times saw them at a distance.

Another time, we just bought a new long lens for the camera and were pretty happy seeing a beaver in a local pond. It was my wife’s turn and she was crouched taking photos and the beaver came out of the pond right in front of us!
Except it kept walking towards my wife! it was about 2 feet away before my wife got out of the way.
It felt like it just wanted to climb in her lap! The beaver kept walking to willow tree to get something to eat.

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