Category Archives: Critters

Where’s Waldo (Murphy)?

dachshund in leavesLike many dogs, Murphy loves to play in the leaves. He always reminds me of a “where’s Waldo” picture because his coat matches the leaves.

Raccoons are a pain … Part 2!

In my last post on my challenges with raccoons raiding a particular bird feeder, I noted that I might have to update based on my success or the lack of it. Well, here’s my update … I’m NOT winning!

raccoons trashed feederI put the feeder on a small limb that I “thought” would be too weak for them to climb. I put the feeder what I “thought” would be far enough away from the trunk for them to reach. I hung it high enough that I “thought” would be higher than they could jump.

Well, I “thought” wrong! This is what I found this morning. ⇒

They totally unhooked all the hooks that hold the seed tray, then they ate all the seed.

bird feeder seed tray hooks⇐ This is what the hooks look like when they are in place. If the raccoon pulled on the seed tray, these hooks would merely tighten. The ONLY way they can be removed is with HANDS!

Now you might be thinking “why don’t you just stop using this appealing type of seed?” (It has various nuts, raisins and sunflower seeds.) At this point, it’s the principle. It’s humiliating to be outsmarted by a very cunning animal. THIS IS WAR!
trail camera & spot light

I’m going to spy on them. I bought a small motion-detector light and a hunter’s trail camera. I want to see how these critters are getting to the feeder. I’ll let you know what the camera captures tonight.

Stay tuned ….

By the way, if you go to YouTube and search for “raccoon bird feeder” you’ll find lots of pages of videos showing other people’s trials with the masked raiders. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

Raccoons can be a pain in the ………

raccoonThis summer I’ve been receiving visitors at night. I know I’m not alone at not being entirely thrilled to have them. These masked critters can do a lot of damage to homes if they decide to make a den in an attic or under a shed. They also can have a bad attitude. You may also have seen the funny videos of a raccoon entering a pet door to eat the pet’s food.

Since finding my yard, they have broken two plastic bird feeders and a tray to catch seed under a feeder.raccoon bends shepherd's hook I replaced one of the feeders with a wooden one that hung in my backyard on a shepherd’s hook outside my bedroom window. Last Thursday the shepherd’s hook was totally bent to the ground with the feeder and hanging plant on the ground – smashing the plants underneath.

I made a trip to Home Depot to get some fencing to “prevent” them from climbing pole to get to the feeder. I chose chicken wire since they couldn’t climb it. I also got some 4ft rebar and ground stakes to prevent them from going under the fencing. I then decided to use a taller shepherd’s hook that was already in place near my back door.

raccoon fencing

The 50-ish Home Depot salesman kept chuckling at my plans. He suggested I take VP Joe Biden’s advice to get a shotgun. 🙂

Last night, a little after 9:00pm, I looked out the door to check on things. The raccoon had bypassed the fence by going up the steps to climb on the hand railing. It was sitting on the rail with one of its hands holding the feeder while the other hand scooped the seed. I banged on the door and it scampered away.gate to block raccoon

Since it was dark, I decided to put up a dog gate to deter it until I could come up with another plan.

This morning I awoke early – while dark – and again looked out the door. I could see the feeder moving. One raccoon was standing between the gate and railing, reaching through the rails to get the seed. A SECOND one was sitting on top of the chicken wire near the railing to get its fill. I opened the door slightly and both scampered, but the one on the porch turned around at the bottom of the steps to stare at me. I’m certain it said, “na-na-na-na-na“.

tree nutty bird seedI put a different type of seed in each of my feeders based on the type of bird I want to attract. This feeder has a mix that appeals to chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals and bluejays. It contains various tree nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and raisins. That’s why the raccoons like it so much.

So today, I hung the feeder on a small limb in the pear tree. The limb “should” be too small to climb and the feeder “should” be too far to reach from the trunk. Plus, the height “should” be too high to jump to. I’ll see how it goes. I may have to EDIT this post to add more. 🙂Backyard bird feeder

Related Site:
Wild Birds Unlimited

Squirrels are cute but costly!

This is intended to be BIRD feeder! But the seed in it has seeds, fruits and NUTS! Thus, it seems one of the squirrels has deemed it worthy of a challenge even though there is another peanut feeder for them and the chipmunks. The birds that normally eat here were rather upset that the squirrel was taking their food. They found temporary relief at the nearby bath.

If it weren’t for that pretty, fluffy tail and the cute little hands …… they would be a rat.

What’s that funny-looking bee?

I plant flowers and shrubs that are appealing to birds, bees and butterflies. A few years ago, I planted Bee Balm for the hummingbirds. They love it! Yesterday I noticed two “odd” insects feeding at the Bee Balm and the nearby Phlox.

hummingbird moth

They are called Hummingbird Moths. It was hard to get a good pic of them as just like hummingbirds, they are in constant movement. According to link to the Forest Service, they also like Phlox. I happen to have Phlox planted next to the Bee Balm so they may think they stumbled on a smorgasbord. Per the Forest Service pics, I think the two I saw are the Snowberry Clearwing version.

bee balm & phlox

A word of caution if planning to install Bee Balm – that’s not mentioned in plant web sites. The above plant started as a small single 3″ plant pot. In the 3 years since, I’ve had to divide, give away, plant in other places, as it spreads quite a bit after it’s cut down when the flowers subside. I didn’t know it spread like that! So my suggestions are:

  • Put it in a spot where it can be visible during its blooming time which is 3-4 weeks on either side of July 4. It’s VERY spectacular.
  • Put it behind other shorter plants that will hide the empty space once you have to cut it down after blooming. It’s rather ugly after blooming.
  • Put it in a space where the underground roots can allow it to enlarge but won’t encroach on other plants. It’s not too invasive but can double/triple in size underground after blooming. Dividing is easy and can control the size as the roots aren’t deep.

You can have your neighbors asking “what IS that bright red flower”!

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!

Happy Doxie w/ Duck Dynasty duck

We’re a Duck Dynasty home, so Murph had to have the Uncle Si version of a duck. He loves it but as he always does with toys, the face and stuffing is gone!