Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Baffling mouse appearance

imageI’ve previously posted a rave review about our pole baffles and their ability to keep out squirrels and even raccoons.  But if you’re small enough, and determined enough, it could be breached.  Imagine my shock when I looked out the window and saw a mouse gorging on our woodpecker feed.  Last night that feeder was about 20% full.  

Steve figured out there was a small opening in the top of the baffle that only appears when the baffle is tilted in a particular direction.  Needless to say, the hole has been closed and the baffle no longer tilts.

Ode to Toads

Dave Barry has quipped:
“If God had wanted us to be concerned for the plight of the toads, he would have made them cute and furry.”

I must respectfully disagree. First, we have really little ones, not the size of Neville’s pet Trevor in the Harry Potter books. They’re very cute as they hop about. I guess they’re toadlets. Second, they’re prodigious insect eaters, and are one of a gardener’s best friends. There are articles all over the internet about how to attract toads to your garden. You can even buy or build toad houses. Just Google “toad gardens”.

Usually we have quite a few levitating like popcorn from the lawn and mulch as we putter in the yard, but this year the numbers are extraordinary. I guess that’s not too surprising since it’s been the wettest year since forever. I recently read that they like to eat grubs, and I’ve noticed a few holes in the leaves of my hostas this year, a grub symptom. So my little toad friends are more than welcome. Sometimes they make it to the upper deck for a visit. The first time I saw one plastered to the glass doors that open to the deck I worried the little guy (or girl, I guess. I’ve no knowledge of toad husbandry) had ventured beyond his/her ability to return. But they seem to disappear and get themselves back to the garden (ooh, I just heard Crosby, Stills and Nash singing “Woodstock” in my head). But they’re just visiting and stay a short while and then move on, as this morning’s guest did. This one was rather large compared to most of them we see around here: his body was about 1.5″. I hope that’s from eating lots of bugs.

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Please be good to the bees

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Squirrel Battles

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It’s the time of year when squirrels get even more enthusiastic about raiding bird feeders. This article has some good ideas for deterring them. You can read the full text here.

We have found the baffles as she describes to be the best defense, and we also have a squirrel feeder we try to keep stocked with corn, especially now. Corn is a lot cheaper than sunflower and nyjer, the two seeds we offer the most to our birds. Trouble is, we live on the edge of a woods, and we have so many squirrels, we could fill it several times a day. They’re in stockpiling mode right now, so after they’ve gorged themselves to the brim, they start hoarding for winter, which isn’t really necessary because we’ll feed them corn all winter, but they (and their genetics) don’t know that. They dig holes everywhere, stashing their maize treasures. Most of these stashes go unused, and in the spring we’re pulling up baby corn plants everywhere! For all their nuisance, I do find them entertaining.

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In the pictures above, the two poles on the left are well protected by baffles. We have never seen a squirrel get past them. The first is fairly near a deck planter, but because it’s so high they can’t get past it.

imageThat hanging feeder on the right side of the black pole is called a “squirrel buster” and was supposed to be squirrel proof, LOL. Those little perches are on a weight-sensitive mechanism that closes when anything too heavy gets on them, blocking access to the feed openings, but squirrels, especially red squirrels, are too smart for that. It worked for a while, but sooner or later they’d get at the seed. Of course, all the while they’re working on this invasion, no birds can use it.

The last image is the squirrel feeder, placed about 15-20 feet from the other feeders. That jar is a gallon sized behemoth and can hold lots of corn, even on its side. It’s empty now, but that’s the way it looks most of the time unless you look right after it’s been filled. They do like it, and will wait in line for access. They’re pretty civilized about it. Sometimes there’s one in the little hut getting corn, one on the roof and one on the top of the pole, waiting their turns. They behave better than many humans would.

Heat Advisory

Yup.  Two days ago frozen bird bath, today there’s a heat advisory.  I for one am looking forward to the warmth and the floral activity that it’s bound to inspire.

Gotta Build my nest!

Gotta build my nest!

 

This little lady has been busy raiding my coco baskets for her nest. It’s been entertaining to watch her, once I gave up on any hope of re-using those liners. Sometimes her mouth is so full of fibers I wonder how she can run up a tree with it, but she moves so fast it’s been difficult to catch her with the camera, so apparently it doesn’t slow her down much. In the background you can see the crabapple trees leafing beautifully.

Slow Progress

Slow Progress

After several cool days and freezing nights, there’s not been a lot of action, save for the destruction the deer have wrought.

  • Upper Left:  a lone daffodil has erupted.
  • Upper Right:  the rhubarb looks like a real plant, but the stems are only a few inches long.  I’m usually picking it by this time.  This is one thing I remember from past years because Brian’s birthday was last week, and he used to love strawberry-rhubarb coffeecake for his birthday.
  • Lower Right:  my front tulips were loaded with fat buds waiting for some warm temps, but several of them were decapitated by the deer.
  • Lower Left:  the back tulips are now 6-8″ tall, but no buds yet.  I’m sure the deer are waiting anxiously.
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