I have been very careful to only place black oil sunflower seeds in my birdfeeder, as this is something they prefer and it doesn’t have all the filler junk that they cheap up their bags with. This made me a good steward of nature, right? Or so I thought. Hubby brought home a bag of “Wild Song Bird Food” and I thought “ugh, we’ll just have to go through that quickly. I should have told him about the really good seed. Ah, well, he meant well.”
Well, shut my mouth and call me corn pone, I was wrong. These birds are going insanely crazy over this stuff, and we have been entertained for a week. Besides the usual sparrows and mourning doves, we have beautiful and refined cardinals, pushy and rude blue jays, imperious grackles, dainty purple finches, red-headed woodpeckers who have to cling to the underside of the bird feeder in order to eat, a gloriously show-stopping yellow oriole, a couple of nuthatches, and my beloved chickadees (whom I normally only see around Christmastime).
We’re also having the party on the ground. Three chipmunks who like to boss each other around, five squirrels who nibble quietly right along with the birds until they go spazoid and freak out all the birds then quickly gobble the food while they’re alone, a mama bunny and her two babies which produces lots of squealing from my girls, and good ol’ Fred the groundhog.
Good ol’ Fred has still been digging tunnels and last week we’d had enough. Part of my backyard was a good four inches lower than other parts and decidedly spongey. Like, if you walked you took the chance of ending up in a hole up to your knee sort of spongey. We hired a man (ex-Marine, boy was he strong) to excavate the hole and refill, tamping it all down. He brought an adorable baby backhoe/digger and went at it methodically, neatly, and with as much care as he would show for his own property. He then seeded and put down hay. I don’t think he realized it, but our bird posse has been treating this as dessert, so I really don’t expect any grass to grow.
I think there was another development from his visit, however. We found the unfortunate remains of what we think is a squirrel outside of our garage; the little thing must have been dead for a while as the skin was already becoming leathered. (This observation brought by Older Daughter who is the scientific/nature observer of the family. The Younger Daughter and I just say “eeeeww.”) Probably was killed by another animal someplace else, then dragged over to the spot and abandoned for a reason.
I think I know better. I think those crazy raccoons who live in the woods beyond our yard got a good look at the baby backhoe and saw the efficient destruction of the elaborate tunnel system and were not only impressed, but scared. I think they dug the squirrel out of their reserve pantry and gave him up as a peace offering to ensure nothing that big would come after them, and a sign of respect. They probably would have kissed my ring had I been there.