Friday, August 28, 2009

Listen to the Wildlife

On more than one occasion I've been alerted to a predator in the backyard. Usually it's the squirrels in the trees chattering away incessantly and earlier today when I heard them, sure enough a cat was prowling the bird feeders. This feline was bold enough to come right up on the deck and sit beside the gazebo feeder. I find a shot of water from the hose or a large cupful on their fast exiting behind impresses upon them not to come back. Sometimes I've let the dog out to chase them away but twice cats have stood their ground and scratched the poor guy's face. Don't get me wrong, I like cats but they are a serious factor in the diminishing numbers of our songbirds. Pick up the book 'Silence of the Songbirds' by Bridget Stutchberry sometime and have your eyes opened to the perils these innocent birds face.

This was quite the day for predators because not long after the squirrels gave the alarm the blue jays started up. It's not unusual for five or six of them to sit outside the kitchen door where I throw peanuts in the shell and squawk for more. Only this time while making a heck of a racket they were flying around to land on the eaves trough over the front, back and side windows as though to get our attention. Grumbling about the amount of peanuts I'd already thrown out, I opened the door to toss a few more and startled a great blue heron that was stalking fish by the pond. No wonder they wouldn't come to the surface to feed lately, this descendant of the prehistoric pterodactyl had been here before. Even though blue jays are considered noisy and boisterous by some, their appetite for peanuts is well worth the trade for the guard birds they are.

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