Thursday, October 21, 2010


In a recent post I talked about the similarities between New Zealand and Wyoming in the late 1800's. Today I'm going to explore one of the differences: wildlife.

New Zealand is a country of birds. The Kiwi of course being one of the most well known. (Not to be confused with the green fruit). The Kiwi, along with many other of our native birds is flightless. The reason being we have no native mammals. Once the white settlers arrived they brought stoats, weasels, rats, cats, rabbits, deer etc, which is why many of our birds are endangered.

So back in the 1800's or even today, we can go out into the countryside in New Zealand with no fear of wildlife. We may get stung by a bee or a wasp, or on a rare occasion a grumpy seal might give chase across a beach.

Things are rather different in Wyoming. I make no claim to be an expert on their wildlife and I've never  been there, but the following is a list of animals that I know are in the vicinity of the setting of my novel and that I have mentioned in my writing.

Bears - very large and very dangerous.
Mountain Lions - also called cougars, pumas, panthers,
  catamounts or painters.
Big Horn Sheep
Pronghorn deer
Skunks - sometimes called polecats. (Black and white
  stink bombs.)
Beaver - although they were almost trapped to
  extinction by the mid 19th century.
Prairie chickens
Jack rabbits
Rattle snakes
Blue jays, and of course the Red-winged Blackbird. (Blackbird being the title of my novel.)

One of the things I have really enjoyed while researching my story has been finding out about these creatures. Their habitats, habits, life cycles and how they affected the people they lived beside. Many of them provided food and clothing, others were a colourful or entertaining distraction, but some of them were dangerous, to the point of death.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Love the pictures!

    One of the truly fun things about writing in a different place / time is having the excuse to explore the flora and fauna.