Animal Nature

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 —(On September 20, the full moon, “Harvest”, will rise nearest to earth.)

This summer, after quitting my part-time job and staying home, I watered a desert-like area beside my house. That brought a variety of critters that delighted me. I decided to keep my inside-outside kitty, an expert small wildlife killer, inside all summer. Max hasn’t been happy about this but he’s adjusted, hangs out on windowsills and stays aware of what happens outside.

Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed a growing population of bunnies, frogs, garter snakes, birds, and especially chipmunks. Years ago and to my dismay, Max killed off the chipmunks that originally ran around. He killed off baby bunnies and any unlucky birds not tuned to instants of great danger.

This summer at home, I decided to encourage wild little critters.

Recently, I set out a ground feeder, added bird seeds, and watched the delighted chipmunks. They showed up, beginning when one discovered the seed stash. Soon another appeared, and finally, an entire family of five or six are dining almost nonstop. I kept adding birdseed and loved watching the chipmunk action.

My bird-food mix included nuts, and birds, especially Jays, also enjoyed the feeder

Chipmunks were my desired customers. I’ve seen partially-tamed ones taking peanuts from a human hand. That was a goal along with photographic opportunities, it would be slow-going. They’re incredibly quick, hopping in and out of a feeder, perching on a rock to eat before hopping again into the feeder. At a slightest disturbance, they rush away down the driveway, trails straight upright toward other properties.

In my RV garage are humane traps, set to capture mice and rats. Occasionally, one yields a trapped chipmunk. Those little squirts are handfuls. They fight wildly for freedom and readily would bite a hand stupid enough to be vulnerable. My traps allow easy releases into the garden area.

Last night, angry screams announced a cat outside, and in Max’s territory. From a windowsill, Max threatened a kitty that didn’t seem frightened, just sat watching my howling beast. A sight of me and sounds of my voice didn’t bother the visitor. When I bumped against something that made a surprising noise, the outside one disappeared. Max shut up and yawned.

As much as it’s a hated thought, I understood that I’m setting up wild critters for destruction. Not from my cat, but by those roaming freely and becoming attracted to noises and scents.

I made a decision, went outside and removed the seed-feeder. The days of easy-food for wild critters are ended.

Dear Friends: Interfering with nature is a poor idea, except for rescuing a critter in need. Diana

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