Our Growing Wildlife Population Got a Bit Too Big!

I wrote a couple of months ago that we had a chipmunk living in our backyard. I had also hung some bird feeders in our front yard and we were getting lots of wonderful birds. Then it appeared that our chipmunk gave birth (“he” was a “she” it seems). Then we acquired a rabbit, who seemed perfectly content to nibble on the clover in our yard, while ignoring our vegetables. Still, I began to wonder at what point does one say, “This is too much wildlife in our tiny yard.” Well, last week I learned what that point is. One day, I woke to find that both of my bird feeders had been knocked down and I assumed some of the annoying local teens had done the job, but was very impressed with their strength. One of the feeders had a huge footprint in it and the other had a bar bent that I couldn’t even begin to unbend. With the undestroyed pieces, I was able to cobble together one feeder, but about an hour later Tertia called to me, “Mom, you need to come see this.” Well, there were two black bears ambling up the path towards our house – a mom and a cub!

The mom looked a lot like this bear. Unfortunately, I never got a good photo of the bears. By the time I ran and got my camera, they had gone into the woods near our house. The next two times they showed up, the mother bear was running right at our house at full speed, so I was a bit too busy running in the opposite direction to get a photo. A call to our local Department of Fish, Game, and Wildlife earned me a stern lecture on the fact that one does not hang bird feeders when one lives in “bear country”. I was unaware of this fact and I was also unaware of the fact that I lived in “bear country”. I knew neighboring cities had occasional bears, but didn’t realize that qualified as living in “bear country”. Anyway, I did know that black bears are not particularly aggressive. I had thought that they relocated bears that were living too close to houses, but it ends up that they do not do that. These bears have most likely co-existed with us for some time and as long as we don’t set out tasty snacks for them, they should leave us alone.

Birdfeeder 20
I had planned to write a wonderful post about our bird feeder and all the birds we had seen, but clearly that project was cut a bit short. Here is a picture of a Stellar’s Jay, however, that I am quite proud of. I’m not proud of the quality of the photo per se, but of the fact that I was able to catch a picture of one of these guys at all. I think that Stellar’s Jays have ADHD or have inhaled a few too many Starbuck’s fumes or something, they do not stay still for more than a second!
Bunny in Our Yard 2
This is a picture of our local bunny “hiding” under the picnic table. He honestly seemed to think he was doing a good job of hiding and that no one could see him. We haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks and I think his “hiding” skills (or lack there of, I should say) might have something to do with that. I have wondered if he became bear food, though there are a lot of eagles and hawks around here also.

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Labels: Nature Study
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff