Gardening with and for Wildlife part 5-Problem Critters
“And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25 ESV
God says that all ‘critters’ are good, and it is so.
Lots of animals will also like what you put out for the birds. That’s fine and even good for some but others can become a problem.
For example, ants can be a problem with the hummingbird and oriole feeders so we hang ant guards above the feeders. Our seed feeders are all on poles with squirrel baffles on them to keep the squirrels off (they can destroy a plastics feeder in no time and go through a LOT of seed!).
My brother has a problem with raccoons, so all of his feeders are the type that close if something heavier than a bird gets on them. Of course raccoons are clever and they have learned to reach over without getting on the feeder! Thankfully raccoons usually only come out at night and the birds aren’t feeding then, so my brother now clamps the trays down at dusk to deter the raccoons.
We have lived in the country where there are bears. While the bears are hibernating in winter there isn’t a problem, but as soon as days start to lengthen and warm, then beware of the bear!
Big ol’ bear feasting on seed…We don’t leave them out anymore when he’s around!
In the spring they are hungry and looking for food. Your bird feeders and suet look like an irresistible buffet to them! Hey, they’re just trying to survive like everybody else. If I choose to live in the country-their turf, then I need to co-exist with them and do my part to not habituate the bears (let them become too comfortable around people and used to getting food from them). For this reason some people stop feeding the birds completely. We have chosen to only keep one feeder and one suet out during the spring, and we bring them inside at night. Our trash cans are inside our locked garage. If you live in an area like this and a bear comes in, do NOT approach it but make noise to try to scare him away. We are fortunate that our neighbor will always give us a call if they see the bears around. Gotta love and be thankful for good neighbors!
Deer can also be a problem. You can either keep spraying Liquid Fence around your feeders or put a fence around them if you have a deer problem.
Deer (not often seen in our yard) eying my hostas!
It’s always interesting trying to stay a step ahead of the critters you’re not trying to feed! If you have a problem with deer, then look for plants that are listed as ‘Deer Resistant’ and stick with planting those types of things.
Talk with others around you to get ideas on what has worked for them, then please share that info with the rest of us!