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    Communication With Other Species

    By Robert B. Warwick

    I would like to know if other people have experienced communication with other species. I am not talking about dogs* and cats because they are domesticated. I’ll let you decide if I had some form of communication with wild creatures, but first you need a bit of background.

    Background: Several years ago I started putting out food for stray cats. I put the food on a work bench under an unused car port in the back yard. This year, 2000, there was only one cat who came there on a regular basis at the time I opened a can of cat food, put it on a dish and she would hop up on the bench.

    It must have been about July 15 that I first noticed the ‘bees.’ They would land on the dish and take some small portions of cat food in their front legs and fly away. I had never seen a bee do this before. I thought bees only gathered honey from flowers. My curiosity aroused, I made note of their profile: yellow-striped on a black background and no apparent stingers and did some research. My ‘bees’ turned out to be Yellow Jackets, a variety of hornet.

    Now, I have been leery of bees since I was a pre-teenager and to learn that what I thought were bees were hornets further increased my wanting to stay away from them.

    Soon there were more hornets coming to the dish. They weren't as polite as the first two had been; they had flown around at a distance before landing on the dish. These hornets flew near me as I spooned out the food and one actually landed on the dish edge. I was getting a bit afraid, but the cat, who was up on the bench next to the plate, didn't pay them much attention so I decided to push myself a bit.

    A few days passed and I got the impression that the hornets were waiting nearby watching for me. The hornets appeared in the air a few feet before I got to the work bench. There were more hornets and some would fly up close to my face. “Don’t do that,” I instinctively cried out and they seemed to move a bit away. I was very nervous and slightly sweating, but forced myself to go on with the feeding.

    Now, I keep the cat food in the garage about 25 feet from the work bench and I could swear that a hornet was flying near the door to the garage. I got the can of cat food and went to the work bench.

    As I was spooning out the food, a hornet landed on my finger. He just sat there as I very cautiously moved. My fear quotient had just gone up ten notches. I talked out loud to it, “You’re making me very nervous.” Whatever soon means in the beginning stages of terror, he soon flew to join the others at the food. Because there were a number of hornets, the cat diplomatically went and ate her kibble nearby instead of joining in at the cat dish.

    On August 1, I went out to the garage, again noted the hornet flying nearby. By now, I was less nervous, but on my guard. I went over to the cat dish. hornets were instantly around me. As usual I threw out the old food, opened the cat food can, and in my haste spilled some liquid from it on my fingers while spooning it out. A hornet came, lit on my finger then slowly inched its way between my fingers, which were spreading wider and wider apart in fear. I could feel its wings brush the inside edges of my fingers. Then from nowhere the thought occurred to me, “It’s playing with me!” I was both amused and frightened, if that is possible. I suppose it was that incident that changed my attitude toward the hornets. I started thinking of them in a friendlier manner.

    On August 3, I went out to cut grass in the front yard and noticed hornets flying near one of the front gates. I went closer and saw some were flying away from the gate and some were flying close to it. I moved closer, then spotted a round hole next to the gate post in the ground. The hornets were flying into and out of it. I was so close that they buzzed me, but never did anything more --a friendly warning shot across the bow?

    Now this alarmed me because the post man crossed between “my” yard and the next near this point; he could get stung. And what about the electric meter reader, he used this gate to go into the back yard and check the electricity usage on the gauge on the wall of the house? My dad, who is 96, always uses this gate to go pick dandelions --which he hates-- in the front yard. What to do? What to do?

    I talked to a neighbor and vaguely mentioned I had seen hornets around. She volunteered to tell me that she had a tree in her front yard in which the hornets had burrowed in and made a nest. She and her friend, one night -- hornets sleep at night-- stopped up the hole with a sealer.

    I thought about that and how my hornets have never harmed anyone SO far. I am against killing any life form unless I am first hurt by them. So days passed while I wrestled with the problem. I actually went to the nest and asked them to move, but naturally I was ignored. I talked to the hornets that came to get food each morning, but, of course, nothing came of it. Yet, the front gate was used and no one got hurt. So with some trepidation I decided to let things be.

    I began to look forward to see who would show up at ‘breakfast’ and mentally talk to them in a friendly manner. Some would come and land on me, then fly away. My old fear of them would rise up at times and I told them I was scared; they seemed to back off.

    I was at an apartment eight blocks away from the yard I have been talking about --as the crow flies. I was about to get in my car to drive to home when I noticed a yellow jacket circling my leg, then flew down to my shoe. It was about to land when my fear came roaring through and I quickly moved into the car and slammed the door. Then I thought, “How strange?” Then I realized I had lost an opportunity.

    From September 1, fewer and fewer hornets started showing up for breakfast. By September 23, there were only two hornets at breakfast. They seemed more interested in me than the food I had put out. I missed not having more hornets. More hornets showed up sporadically on the days to follow but on October 13, there weren’t any hornets that came to eat; I felt sad. I went to the nest and saw only two hornets moving in the entrance lethargically. I felt sadder still.

    Then on October 24, a hornet showed up at the cat food. It behaved strangely flying by me several times, then when I moved away from the table it landed on the dish. It sat there looking at me or the dish. I went away. The next day, the same thing happened. Then on October 26, after I had put “breakfast” out, the hornet landed. It didn’t pick up food, but seemed to be eating it! Sense then it has usually come. It is now taking away food and flying off towards the alley; before my hornets flew toward the front yard.

    Since that time and until yesterday, December one or two hornets showed up at the cat food but there wasn’t the same rapport between us.

    *I mentioned communication with dogs. A famous scientist, Rupert Sheldrake, is researching telepathy between dogs and their owners. If you have any incidences of this, contact him at his website: www.sheldrake.org. He has written a book called, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals. He has written a number of other books as well. Rupert Sheldrake is a widely respected and published plant biologist and physiologist.

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