AH! We’re finally peeking out of the house! Some sunshine is sneaking in here, and I can feel a LIVE heartbeat again! Happy! A week ago, we grabbed the scopes, cameras, and joined cousin Nancy for an outing to Oaks Bottom…..a fabulous bird watching wetland…..3 mile hike around it and you have some heartwarming experiences. We saw our FIRST baby ducklings of the year (10 and Mom)…. THAT was a Fabulous day. Thanks, Nancy!
This week, We even ventured out to Cirque de Soleil – Kooza (fabulous). After that worked so well, we drove down yesterday afternoon to friend Ian’s surprise Birthday Party / Softball Game yesterday thrown by fabulous wife Kate (fabulous):
We made cookies for the party, plus there was lots more:
YES, we are gaining weight off the leftovers…
HOWEVER. There HAS been some strangeness worming through the little ranchette lately………… We ARE in the woods, we DO have wildlife of all kinds. Sometimes it takes a week or two to solve……maybe.
First mystery was solved yesterday. The puzzle? We have a strange little suet feeder meant to keep large birds/squirrels out, and allow the little birds in to feed:
…you just pour the seeds into that “suet cube” holder”:
….hang it on the tree
and voila! It worked that way for a season….THEN, a little native Douglas Squirrel (our favorite little brown squirrels…), realized he WAS “skinny” enough to squeeze through, grab a nut, slip out, and feast. HENCE: No big deal, we kept putting peanuts in there, and our favorite native squirrel can had his own private food stock.
THIS year, we tried that again, and for some reason, that squirrel (or his descendant) must have been eating too many quarter pounders….HE’s a bit too fat to squeeze in…. THAT is WHEN the mystery began. The feeder remained full all day. But the next MORNING, it was empty……. WHO DO YOU BLAME? You ALWAYS BLAME the raccoons, of course. I moved it, and began placing it on the barbecue some nights:
Of course, if I did, I had to make sure I was out early and got it back on the tree, else the big Fox Squirrels (yes, your cute big thick bushy tailed ones) tore the heck out of everything. So I just moved it around, but every morning it would be empty.
I kept wondering why or HOW a raccoon was getting the peanuts out and not ripping apart the feeder itself.
Yesterday arrived with sun, 70 degrees and a decision to maybe have our first BBQ’d chicken of the year! Rodger’s the great BBQ chef, so naturally, Rodger faithfully accepted BBQ cleanup task. Armed with brushes, cleaner, he took off the cover, lifted the lid to see this:
Apparently, most of the mouse family had grown and gone, we only saw 3-4 escape this lovely Mouse House. Are we MORE annoyed it was there (yuk), OR because it was made with insulation from under the house! Dang! No wonder the heat bill’s going up! The BIG part of the story was this: About a gallon of peanut shells were in here, around it, below it. Peanut Mystery Solved! Poor raccoons had nothing to do with it.
Okay, moving on, mystery #2. We have 3 shepherd hooks with bird feeders hanging from them. You can only do that successfully if you mount baffles on the pole to keep the squirrels from climbing up and devouring it all. THIS M.O. has worked beautifully for about 10 years:
This time of year, we’re looking out there a LOT waiting for the arrival of our songbirds for their annual nesting and rich singing extravaganzas we love every summer. SO. TWO weeks ago, I look out there to see a big Fox squirrel sitting in the feeder eating. Mac ran him off quick, but he was back in an hour. This had only happened once before, and that time, the feeder was simply to close to the Cedar tree so he simply jumped from the lowest branch onto the feeder. Was that the problem?
**I moved the pole out one more foot…..and waited a day or two. Woops! There he was again. Was he jumping from the ground?
… I have watched and watched and seen nothing to support that belief.
From the slope side of these feeders there’s another small tree…maybe he’s jumping from there?
….I measured and still don’t think this was the take off point.
SO: We do NOT know HOW this one aggressive squirrel is doing it.…..THAT mystery remains unsolved….can ANYONE please come up and we take turns sitting at the window till we catch him in the act?
By the way, on that slope side, there is a trail that runs down into the forest. NO HUMAN walks it. It is used by wildlife only, but is used heavily enough, you’d swear it was in a park for hiking:
….I would LOVE to have a NIGHT camera and record everything that moves out here at night…………. THAT would solve a few mysteries on its own.
So, ONE mystery solved (and the BBQ chicken is delicious!!! Rodger’s a GREAT BBQ chef), and one remains in the dark.
**ONE another note, as I was walking back up a trail this morning, I hear/see a pickup park on the gravel road TO the lot in Forest Park, see a guy get out and start making Saw Whet Owl whistles (a plain one note call)…….I thought “weirdo” until I HEARD the OWL begin to answer him. The guy pulled out his binoculars and began to look for the bird. Guess what “I” will be doing tomorrow morning!!!!!!
Saw Whet Owl Call at this link: Northern Saw-Whet Owl Call.
….and why am I happy he’s here? These guys will kill LOTS of mice!
And lastly, our own home SUET FEEDER that gets our Home-Made Suet is doing WELL:
….Seems EVERYBODY loves that feeder….I suppose the “post” the holes are drilled into gives it a very natural feel……
AW! Doesn’t this sound like spring!