The activity at our bird feeders has declined. Maybe our feathered friends read that the ozone level is at Extreme (even as the legislature is trying to lower ground air standards.)
It might also be that our yard has become a cafeteria for area hawks.
There was evidence of several killings last week–grey fluff, long feathers. Over the weekend, we visited our son and daughter-in-law in Virginia Beach and when we returned Monday, a gruesome mess on our covered porch indicated that Victim No. 4 fought hard.
CSI believes the victims to be mourning doves. (Talk about having something to mourn!) Those birds don’t even feed at the bird feeders. Instead, they peck around the ground underneath, which makes for a slow takeoff. Easy pickings for a hawk diving at 120 mph or so.
One day I went outside to fill the bird baths and saw piles of grey fluff. A few feet beyond lay, like a dropped toy, a baby squirrel. It had its new furry coat and a fat tummy. Panda-like cute. Although it looked untouched, it was still quite dead.
I called the undertaker (a/k/a Dearly Beloved)and we held a graveside service under the doublefile viburnum tree. Despite my dislike of those darned critters, this little squirrel wrenched my heart. It had been lying out in the open, so how could it have fallen from a nest? Somewhere in the trees, a momma squirrel had to be grieving for the loss of her fat little baby.
My life suddenly became more complicated. I watch to keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders as usual, but now I also keep an eye out for any lurking hawks. You know how a hawk sits in a tree and twists its head gracefully to look in any direction? Out-hawking a hawk at my age isn’t easy because of all the cellophane creaking and cracking in my neck
Yeah, yeah, I know all that stuff about the laws of nature and I have one thing to say about that: NIMBY!
Not in my back yard.
You’d think that I’d get a little help from Scout the Wonder Dog. Hah!
A couple of months ago, my dear blog friend Mountain Woman sent Scout a present: three soft toys. A squirrel, a shark, and a skunk. Really nice, huh?
In that same package, she included surprises for me:
Sure, she’s nice, but she’s also wicked. I did not have a squirrel pillow or squirrel candle holders on my wish list.
Scout unpacked the box and immediately adopted the squirrel as her new favorite toy.
Whenever she goes outside, she drops it in the vicinity of the bird feeders, as if telling all the tree rats, “Come on down. I don’t care about you; I have a squirrel of my own.” They could form a conga line around her and she would simply yawn.
Yesterday the yard was invaded by crows. Sheesh!
DB looks out over our backyard and, as long as the grass is cut, he sees only our little paradise. I look out with swiveling head, ready to beat on the windows or run out screaming and waving the broom. Do I think I am Mother Nature?
So far, the coyotes and wolves in the neighborhood have been held off by the fence. Peter Rabbit still squeezes through the latticed brick, although if I point to it and accompany Scout outside, she will actually chase Peter.
I am going to take a deep breath and enjoy the whole garden scene. After all, what else could show up?
(Here is YouTube link to the manufacturer of this feeder, should you have Godfather envy and want one, too.)