By: Stephanie Yee, C’08
During Alumni Weekend 2014, I spotted the most adorable bunny near The Palestra. Everyone knows about the huge squirrel population on Penn’s campus, but did you know about the bunnies? Tell us, have you seen other creatures roaming the campus?
Adorable bunny near The Palestra
Close-up of the bunny
Author: Emilie Kretschmar
Last week Sweeten was treated to its own wildlife adventure. A very large hawk decided to perch atop a neighboring building and have breakfast.
He was a beautiful animal and didn’t seem to mind when us Sweeten folk came out onto the balcony to photograph him. Breakfast was his main concern.
Lisa Marie captures the action for social media.
Upon further investigation—googling “hawks of Pennsylvania”—I discovered that we were watching a red-tailed hawk, also known as a chickenhawk. Although they rarely prey on standard-sized chickens, they do love squirrels and pigeons of which there are many in Philadelphia. The specie also seems to be unfazed by human activity so, unlike many of their fellow birds-of-prey, these hawks are often found in cities like our own Philadelphia.
Watching animals up close is a fascinating thing. It can be both beautiful and repellent at the same time, which is an unusual combination. Last year on safari, Penn alumni and I experienced a similar sensation. Lions on the hunt is a beautiful spectacle, but also nerve-racking as you wait for something gruesome to happen (or not happen, in our case). If animal watching is of interest to you, join us this fall on our alumni tour of East Africa.
My favorite shot from the Ngorongoro Caldera lion hunt. The buffalo win this round.
But if Africa is a little too far for your taste (or your wallet), make sure you look upwards next time you’re in Philadelphia or on campus at Penn. Perhaps you’ll spot another red-tailed hawk!
Our red-tailed friend.
Author: Leigh Ann P.
On most days when I arrive at Sweeten Alumni House in the early morning hours, it is serenely quiet and peaceful on campus. I can spend some time appreciating the fact that I work on this beautiful college campus in the middle of a major urban city. The merry squirrels dart dangerously close around my feet, having grown accustomed to a life of hand-feeding by kind, unsuspecting humans. Sometimes all I can hear at that hour are my own footsteps on Locust Walk. That is, when I wear my super-loud boots.
But most mornings are not Spring Fling ticket-distribution day.
My colleagues and I have seen signs, banners and sidewalk chalk for a few weeks advertising “Tiesto,” and by our powers combined, we deduced that he/she/they/it was/were for Spring Fling. I like to think that working at a college keeps me young and hip, but this is a dirty lie. (Do the kids still say “spaz?”) I have no clue who or what Tiesto is. It makes me feel even older knowning that a couple of years ago when Snoop Dogg was the Spring Fling headliner, it was the students who didn’t know who he was. After all, the incoming students of the Class of 2016 were born after “What’s My Name?” was released.
So thanks to the sleuthing of one N. Elizabeth Pinnie, we have learned that Tiesto is a Dutch trance DJ, and Penn students are willing to camp out on a weeknight for the chance to see him perform live, even sleep on the steps of Sweeten as my fellow Sweeteners are forced to step on their blankets and bags of Doritos just to make it through the front door.
Unfortunately for the students, they’ll have to wait until April 13th for their Tiesto dreams to become reality. You, on the other hand, can enjoy his jams right now!
Author: Aimee LaBrie
We used to have an employee here who referred to me as “The Squirrel Lady,” because every time we were outside together walking on Locust, I would make a “ccchhi-ccchhi” noise at the numerous tame squirrels that dot the green (roughly translated, “ccchhi-ccchhi” means “I have potato chips” in Squirrelese). I suppose I can’t blame her for thinking it odd that I would want to feed the squirrels–to most people, they are just rodents with fluffy tails. But spend any time on the Penn campus, and you will see that the squirrels here are more like cats than rats; they are not afraid of people and they will eat pretty much anything you give them. Not only that, but they will come up to you and take the food from your fingers with tiny, human-like paws and then sit back on their haunches and gnaw it up until their cheeks are plump. I am certain there will come a day when I call over to a squirrel and it runs toward me, takes a flying leap off of a bench, and lands on my face. Until then, I’ll just continue to be The Squirrel Lady.
Here is a photographic example of how busy the squirrels are on campus, and how they strive to stay on top of news from the DP (photos courtesy of Leigh Ann):
He has found today's newspaper. Now just has to figure out how to get it back to his nest.
In dragging it back home, he panics, wondering if perhaps this is too much paper for his limited space.
Practicality wins out as he chooses just the celebrity section.