I ask wild animals, “What is your first morning activity or thought?”

Mr. Squirrelly says, “The first thing I do is stretch and think about what new plants I smell in the air this morning.” A young squirrel that lives in my palm trees says, “I stretch and yawn and I think about where I should go first, your birdbath or the birdbath down the street. I like to have a drink of water first thing in the morning.”

Sulphur Mountain female deer says, “I make sure my young ones are safe. I tell them to come close and I connect with each one of them by licking their heads. Then I bring them to a safe place to play. After that the herd travels to a place where there is good grass to eat and a stream.”

Sulphur Mountain buck says, “I wake up earlier than everyone else and patrol the boundary of my territory. Then I go and get a younger buck and we do it again together. There is a lot to teach him. Now I am teaching him how to aim his antlers better. If we look like we are good fighters, the mountain lions will pass us by for a weaker herd.”

Ojai East End bear says, “I listen to the birds with my eyes shut while the sun begins to rise. Then I roll back and forth a few times before I stand up. I then head to eat avocados before I go into the stream. I think a lot about whether I want to move up into the mountains, but I have not ventured out of my territory yet. Food is more scarce up there, but it is more peaceful.”

Mourning dove says, “The first thing I do is fly to a safe place on the ground and walk. I like to walk my legs out; otherwise they feel stiff all day. Then I fly to a wire and just sit with my friends watching the morning activity until we get hungry. We talk about the raccoons and how we love to watch their babies play.”

Raccoon says, “I let my babies come out to play just after the sun goes down. Just when the sun rises the babies may have another burst of energy before we retire for the day. When I first awake I count my babies and am thankful for another day. I thank my den, my friends, and my body. I am lucky that I have had no tragedy in my life. I have seen others that suffer. I saw a raccoon once that got his leg stuck in something and he died from an infection. I am careful about the road. I teach my babies not to cross it because I have seen raccoons hurt from those bright-light vehicles.”

Red-tailed hawk says, “The first thing I think about are my wings. I stretch them, flap them, and then preen my feathers. I will survey my environment and then I just sit for a while with my eyes open. A vision of where I should hunt that day will always come to me. Then I go there and wait for my prey. I never know what I will find at that spot but I always find something. Sometimes my mate and I sit together. Other times he flies off. He likes to fly more than I do. He is always finding different areas to hunt. I like the same spots. He likes to change.”


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