Sentinel Chickens: Sentinel Chicken flocks are strategically placed throughout states where mosquito-borne illnesses are possible. The chickens are tested regularly during the mosquito season to detect evidence of infection. Infected chickens are often the first sign of virus (like the West Nile Virus) activity.
Go chickens! I feel so safe now knowing that the chickens are on watch...don't you?
Fortunately, we didn't come to FL during the "peak" of mosquito season (who said Florida doesn't have seasons? There's Jellyfish season, Sea Lice season, Mosquito season, Alligator season....) Nevertheless, it has been the mosquitoes that have been most on our minds this trip. It might be because Aidan had 22 bites within the first 24 hours of getting here, or because Liam has only had one bite, ON HIS EYELID, which swelled close to shut for much of yesterday. Oddly, Lily and Madeline have had nothing...no bites. Some people are just more prone than others I guess...especially when the mosquito is in bed with those people.
But FL is kind of like that....full of bold wildlife. I have killed two roaches during this visit. One 3-incher was found eating a slice of apple next to the baby seat...in the middle of the day. (Roaches are nocturnal, in case you are unfamiliar.) And although I delight in feeding the wild animals as much as the next tourist, roaches are not high on my list of house pets. I'd put them right down there with Earwigs...or Black Widow Spiders. I have also personally fed a HUGE flying ant that happened to land under my arm and bite me ON MY ARMPIT! And if you have never been bit by a flying ant in your armpit, well, step down on some glass sometime....it's THAT kind of fun.
On the brighter side, the kids and I enjoyed feeding a very friendly squirrel at the park today. He walked right over next to us and probably would have jumped up in the stroller for a little ride on top of Liam had I not pulled out the remainder of our picnic and dumped out some popcorn. He was so excited I think he peed himself. And no matter how close the kids got, he kept coming back for more: animal crackers, apple slices (the ones uneaten by roaches of course) and an old, mushy, pretzel stick found somewhere in the dark crevices of the stroller.
And just the other day, we enjoyed watching a pair of green parrots fly overhead while we chased lizards next to the pool and listened to the peafowl yelling "Heee-eeeelp, heee-eeeelp, PEACOCK!" (I think they had just noticed the burnt-orange curtains in the lime-green house across the street.) Some people have sentinel chickens but our neighborhood prefers the larger birds...perhaps, after scaring off the remainder of the small cats and dogs they will scare the bugs away too...
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