By Bill Overland

While birdwatching with a friend at the former Banner Strip Pits, I noticed a mother skunk heading straight for us on the cinder path.  Immediately following her were six baby skunks.  Weaving amongst each other, the babies formed a moving ball of black and white fur with six little tails.  I was alarmed and wanted to make a run for it, but my friend advised me to “stand perfectly still, don’t make a sound; it will be OK.”  The mother skunk veered off the trail into the ditch when she saw us.  The travelling ball of baby skunks stayed on the path.  They came so close to us, they actually touched our hiking boots and we could hear their squeaky grunts.  As I looked down, the fur ball broke into six separate baby skunks.  They went around our boots and reformed into a black and white fur ball, continuing on down the path.  The mother came out of the ditch and rejoined them.  I could breathe again.

-Bill Overland has been a lifelong resident of Indianola. In fact, he is the 5th generation of his family in Warren County.  As a boy, Bill spent many hours studying anthills.  As a young adult he became interested in trees and gardening and earned a degree in horticulture.  He also picked up the hobby of bird watching.  Bill is employed at State Farm Insurance.