Hubs has often told me, I “have a way” with animals. I’m not sure what that “way” translates to; does my voice have a reassuring sound? Does my body language say “safety”? Can the animals sense that I am a mother and I will be protective? Maybe it’s a combination of them all or something completely different altogether but all I know is, I have had some interesting, funny and downright amazing experiences with the critters outside of our home, that is — the wildlife.
Honestly, I feel a bit silly calling it a yard, parking spaces are bigger than the flat, green bit of land behind our home. What we actually have is a patio that steps onto a small slice of green that becomes a steep hillside which climbs up to a lovely wooded area that opens onto an vast green field with a surround of trees at the top. It’s actually quite beautiful, our own picturesque “country” landscape. It’s that wooded area that brought the wildlife critters to our home but our habit of feeding any living creature that keeps them coming back.
A few years after we bought our home we visited a friend’s wild bird supply store (bird feeders, seed, etc.), we bought a small feeder (a hopper to be precise) that would accommodate most birds to stop by for a filling meal. That one feeder was all it took to hook us; after we watched all of the different, beautiful birds fly to our feeder we knew we wanted more. So, we bought more feeders in different styles for the variety of birds that were visiting our yard. We have the perfect spot for bird feeding and bird watching, the tree cover is plentiful and the tree variety offers any regional bird a great home.
I also bought bird books so I could identify all of our new friends and I even found a neat device (before handy smart-phone apps) that allowed me to hear all of my regional birds’ calls. I became quite the bird geek. (Just add it to the list! *hee hee*)
Then one day I noticed one of my feeders had grown a furry tail! Upon closer examination I found a cute squirrel hanging upside down from the feeder pole, with his head shoved inside the feeder having a big noon-day meal. Of course this little guy loved the wonderful buffet we so graciously prepared for him so he went out and told all of his friends and neighbors that they needed to check out the new diner down the hill, just past the holly tree. We had become the new hot spot eatery in Squirrelville.
Not long after the squirrel invasion, word must have gotten over to the next little town, Chipmunkland, because I looked out my window again to find one of the little cuties IN the bird-feeder stuffing his cheeks to almost bursting! The birds were sitting on the outside ledge having their meal, not bothered in the least. Soon a line of chipmunks were running up and down the feeder poles, filling their unimaginable stretchy cheeks with every last tiny seed from every feeder hanging. It was a bird-feeder assault.
Of course the “Sucker” tattoo on my forehead was burning so, the very next morning I filled every feeder once again like the good little human they so expertly trained. After going through several large bags of rather pricey “deluxe” seed blend (only the “best” for our critters, while we eat gruel) we eventually agreed that since the squirrels and chipmunks now had enough food saved for ten generations, we needed to get the furry guys out of the bird feeders and into their own feeders. Of course, this plan sounded a lot easier in my head…
*A Special Note: For those of you that read the stories “The Little Guys” Parts 1 & 2, you may remember reading of our great little gerbil Chip; it is with a sad heart that I report, he has passed, making the trip “Over the Rainbow Bridge” on 30 August 2012. He is sadly missed by myself and my family, he was quite the little character.