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Dawson Neighborhood

Pets

Grey Fox And Two Kits on Wadford

Click the pic for photo gallery.

July 11, 2016

Dawson Neighborhood may be sandwiched between 4 major streets, but it has a long creek, pond and a lot of green space to spare. This provides for a lot of wildlife like hawks, opossum, raccoons, and more.

This week, we’ve seen our gray fox momma bringing her kits out for sun and fun every afternoon. They’re out at night too, with their shining eyes reflecting light in the dark. We sometimes see a second adult, but he wasn’t around today.

Click the picture to see a gallery of the momma and one of the two kits (the other was out of sight behind the compost pile) scampering around just feet away from our door!

Please share this link to a Google Photos gallery with more pics, the fox lurking beside the compost pile, catching a rat, running along branches in our live oak tree and onto our roof, and the momma and her 2 kits trigger our motion light out back.

December Update: We first saw the two adults running together in early spring 2016. They would come out as early at 4:00 PM, and were up as late as 4:00 AM (per our security system) The male left at some point, and they were not to be seen for a few weeks. One adult, probably the mother, was then seen for a number of days, and then she brought her pups out. The pups feasted on snails and rats until they were almost as big as momma. They were seen running as a pair together without her sometimes.

Toward the end of summer, we stopped seeing the pups, and the momma was around a lot less. After the first cold snap in November, the momma vanished for over a week. Since then, A fox has been seen about twice a week, we don’t know which one, but our impression is that it is just passing through. We know of 2-3 places the foxes had been bedding down before, but those places are undisturbed now.

Keep Your Pets Indoors At Night!

There’s been a lot of sightings of “coyotes” lately, and cats are going missing. Nature favors the survival of the fittest, and our pampered pussycats (and small dogs) aren’t prepared to face the test. Bring them indoors before dusk, and if you have pet doors, bolt or block them off from inside. Wildlife can get indoors through them, as you know.

Wild animals thrive in the ‘hood because they’re finding plenty of food. They DO NOT need our help, so don’t leave pet food outside where they can get at it, and especially don’t deliberately feed them! They can easily become dependent on handouts, and they will be vulnerable to starvation if they get cut off. They will have lost the hunting skills they need to survive on their own!

Click here for the hawk gallery. Another wonderful wildlife sighting right in our backyard!

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Dawson News Round-Up – Mid-June

Attacks at Dawson Elementary

Image: Ouch!

Harley Nussman’s dog Georgia has been attacked on multiple occasions by a female brown-and-white Boxer-mix at the informal dog park beside Dawson Elementary School. Georgia sustained a pretty nasty puncture wound, and Harley is afraid to use the dog park again. Neighbors are asked to keep a protective eye on their fur-babies when using this exercise area, and to politely let the unidentified owner of the offending dog know of our concerns.

“Secret” Creek Trail Closed

Image: Secret Trail

For 62 years, Charles Swenson has permitted neighbors to cut through his property along Bouldin Creek from El Paso (at the bridge) to Wilson Street. This trail is handy for schoolchildren and nature lovers looking for a brief adventure. Mr. Swenson has truly been a generous person for allowing access through his land for all this time!

Unfortunately, there is an advanced problem with erosion there, which is largely held back by the roots of a single tree situated on the corner. Sadly, someone has begun cutting branches from this tree. Mr. Swenson estimates 60% of it has been hacked away over several occasions. He is concerned about the erosion damage which will result if this tree is lost, so he has barricaded the trail entrance. His property line is on the other side of the water, so he owns this segment of Bouldin Creek.

Mr. Swenson is willing to re-open the trail if the vandalism stops. He would like to have concrete steps or a ramp built, and will allow the City or members of the community to volunteer their time and materials to do this. A group of neighbors are circling ’round to work on the trail project, and it will be discussed August 8th at the next neighborhood meeting. Send your ideas and contact info to secret.trail@nullDawsonNeighborhood.org, and we’ll pass it along to the rest of the group.

Good-bye 2701 Stacy Lane

Image: 2701 Stacy Ln

The light green 1-story cinder-block bungalo on the corner of Cumberland and Stacy has been completely demolished.  Sadly, the demolition included a mature mesquite tree at least 25″ in diameter and an assortment of trees planted by the Austin Community Tree program and/or Tree Folks. Neighbor David Haun has been unable to find a permit for cutting the larger trees and worries that this was done illegally. The house was built in 1953 and last purchased Feb 23, 2016. We will let the neighborhood know when we hear what is planned for the property.

St. Ed’s Holding STEM Day Camp for HS Students

Image: Go For Launch!

Does your kid love actual rocket science? “SEU is partnering with Higher Orbits to offer a really neat day camp from 11 – 13 July.  The camp is designed for high school students as well as college freshmen and sophomores.  Teams will compete to design an experiment to be conducted in space.  The winning project will have a chance to be built, flown to space, and conducted on the International Space Station!  Retired NASA Astronaut, Mike Foreman, will be in attendance throughout as a mentor to the student teams. You can find out more information at http://goforlaunch.space.”

Register your kid by Friday, July 1st for $250 here.

Restaurant Inspections

Image: Local Restaurant

No restaurants in Dawson failed inspection in March, April or May! See which ones passed and failed here.

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Grey Fox Pair Make Den in Dawson

Grey Fox on Wadford St, Aug 19 at 7:30 PM Click for larger view

Appearing in broad daylight this very afternoon was a pair of Grey Foxes, who appear to have made a den inside Dawson Neighborhood!

Both pictures here are of the same fox, as the other had run out of sight by the time the camera was ready. The first fox ran down the lawn and brazenly stood right beside the curb for a while, then took chase after a bird across the street. It disappeared in the bushes there. Foxes were observed exiting these same bushes late on Tuesday night.

Then there was a worried bark heard from the back of the lawn, a sort of cross between the kind of yelp a small dog might make combined with a squeaky-toy. The second fox was then seen standing beside the compost pile, presumably looking for it’s mate. After a short while, it ran back towards a wooded area known to have shelter for wild animals.

July Update – the story continues, with many more pictures:  We see pups!

Grey Fox on Wadford St, Aug 19 at 7:30 PM Click for bigger view

Urban Wildlife are Beneficial

Wildlife like foxes provide many benefits to our health and happiness. Foxes will eat rodents, roaches, snakes and anything else they can find. So do opossum, raccoons, skunk, armadillo and others, though you’ll need to protect your vegetable gardens from some of these as well. This means less vermin infiltrating our own homes. Its important that we not use poison inside or around our homes or these innocent creatures will end up eating something that harms them. Sick rats are easy prey for foxes, hawks and the other predators, but they will suffer second-hand poisoning. If you absolutely have to have wildlife removed, hire a licensed professional. The pro can humanely trap and relocate the wildlife outside the city. As a citizen, you can trap wildlife too, but for health reasons, the law requires that you either release the animal again *upon the same property*, or kill it there on site. If you encounter a hurt wild animal, I personally recommend Austin Wildlife Rescue.

Protect Your Pets and Livestock

It’s truly an honor to have such beautiful wildlife living among us, but they don’t distinguish between wild prey and domesticated pets and other animals. It’s important to make your chicken and rabbit coops predator-proof. Use 1″ hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. Install motion-lights and a baby monitor to alert you to intrusions. Keep your cats indoors at night, and latch or block your pet doors so nothing can get in OR out. Smaller dogs are vulnerable, too. Keep all of your little loved ones indoors at night if you can. Discourage wildlife from visiting your home regularly by never leaving your pet’s food or water bowls out for them to pilfer. Do not feed wild animals! They will find plenty of wild prey; they do not need us to help them out. These are not endangered, for the most part. They have moved into the area because they CAN find enough food. They will simply move away again if food becomes scarce.

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St. Ed’s Hillfest 2015

Update 8/28: The fest has come and gone – Click here for pics and video of the fireworks!

There’s just 11 days until St. Edward’s University kicks off the new Fall Semester with the fourteenth annual Hillfest 2015! Now, this event is only open for St. Ed’s students and guests, but it’s a big event right along the border of our neighborhood which impacts us. There will be increased traffic, amplified music and a fireworks display at 10:00 PM which not all of our pets appreciate as much as we do.

The event takes place on Friday, August 28, from 7-10:15pm. This year, letters will be mailed to nearby residents of Dawson, Sherwood Oaks, St. Edwards and Ben White neighborhoods. Signs will also be placed along nearby streets. Here is the draft design for the signs:

For students who call Dawson their home, here is the intrim event schedule:

Food Trucks:

Music By:

Fireworks Show at:

10 p.m. – 10:15

Folks with further questions are welcome to contact:

Cristina Bordin
Chief of Staff, Liaison to the Board of Trustees and Sustainability Coordinator
St. Edward’s University
President’s Office  | 3001 S. Congress Ave.  |  Austin, TX 78704
Tel: (512) 464-8893
http://think.stedwards.edu/sustainability

Pets and Fireworks Don’t Mix!

St. Ed’s is very aware of our concern for our pets, and has made every effort to let us know what is going on in advance. We can’t expect our pets to have as much fun as we do, but here are some tips to help them get through this. We don’t want any of our four-legged kids running away this year!

How to keep your dog safe and at ease when the fireworks start

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