Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This is Not a Bird

We get so caught up in seeing different birds visit our feeders, we often forget that other wildlife can take advantage of the bounty as well. In the past few weeks, several mice have snacked at my deck feeders, cleaning up the debris spilled by birds and helping themselves to a few choice morsels. While I don't mind mice in the abstract and the occasional sighting doesn't bother me, they've been getting a bit too familiar for my taste... Yes, the traps had to come out. Fortunately, while a few of their brethren have gone to the Great Cheese Wedge in the sky, the rest of the rodent population has decided that my deck may not be the easiest spot for a meal after all, and have abandoned the buffet. More for the birds, then.

In addition to all my backyard birds, the mice are only the latest of wildlife to join the ranks in my yard and feeders. Other transient guests have included deer (noted by the gifts they left behind), snails (which loved the smorgasboard), snakes (which loved the mice), the occasional neighborhood cat (which didn't love my reaction to their presence), one of our neighbor's dogs (just exploring), and most intriguing of all, the American mink (had to look that one up) earlier this summer.

It isn't always easy to strike a balance between what wildlife you will welcome and what you will not. The snakes and mice are most unwelcome in my yard and I take steps to discourage and trap them whenever necessary. Feral cats - or cats of any variety - are likewise unwelcome. Other critters, however, are always welcome for a passing visit, though granted, I don't know how I'd feel about their constant company.

What critters keep you company at your feeders, and how welcome are they?

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