Tux

This is another little feline visitor we’ve been having to our back yard bird feeders from. There is a house outside of our subdivision that feeds and looks after what must be 10+ outdoor cats. Several have visited our home before but they cause no problems and just tend to sit at the wood line to watch the birds eat and chatter at them.

I have named this one “Tux” for the tuxedo-like coat he or she has. Nearly every morning when I come downstairs and open the curtains and blinds, there is Tux. And in the evening when my husband comes home and I’m starting dinner, there is Tux. Starting to get used to the little guy or gal being around.

2013-06-30 Tux

Birdhouse Update

Gloom Warning: It’s not a positive update.

I was thrilled when just days after purchasing and installing a new bird house, a family of bluebirds moved in and built a nest. Soon I was enjoying the sweet music of baby birds singing their little hearts out when the parents would arrive with food. I was looking forward to posting pictures in the coming weeks of fledglings and their attempts at learning to fly.

However about two weeks ago, I noticed the box had gone quiet. There was no singing and I hadn’t seen the parents in several hours. Curious, I stepped up to the box outside and peered with one eye up into the hole. I quickly stepped back when I realized that no longer were the little baby birds but a coiled snake. Not knowing exactly what kind of snake it was, I left well enough alone.

I was pretty sure that it was completely harmless as there aren’t that many venomous snakes around here, so I was willing to pin it to the ground and catch it. However, my neighbor wisely warned me that even though it was harmless, I had no idea what germ-ridden meals the snake had recently devoured that might be transferred to me if it lashed out.

After a long wait, it emerged.

2013-07-02 Snake 01

The snake wasn’t terribly large. I watched it slither out and down the pole the house was mounted on. In checking online herpetology sites, I’m guessing it’s a rat snake.

2013-07-02 Snake 02

I was shooting with a long lens that didn’t allow me to capture the entire snake in one shot. It was at this moment that I wanted to catch it by the head and take it out for its (in my opinion) transgressions against my bird family. The sweet bluebird parents had worked so hard building the nest twig by twig and it broke my heart to see the mother bird constantly flit back and forth to the opening in the house knowing something was terribly wrong but not being any match for the intruder inside.

2013-07-02 Snake 03

When you love all the cute and cuddly animals like I do, it’s hard to accept nature in its rawest. But you can’t truly respect nature if you can’t accept the entire circle of it. It still saddens me to see the empty box by my office window, but I can’t fault the snake. It would have done the same thing no matter where the nest had been located, most likely. This same snake will probably now keep our crawl space free of otherwise troublesome rodents (as that’s where it headed to when it left).

2013-07-02 04

My hope is that after I install a cone baffle under the bird house, a new family may find it and take up residence.

Where There Are Birds…

The time it takes may vary, but where you feed birds near civilization you will eventually attract cats or other predators of the sweet little birds you enjoy. We learned this in our first neighborhood where an elderly gentleman fed a local group of feral cats a few streets down. No one every complained about them (that I knew of) and it worked well in keeping the cats together and in a central location.

Our feeders have always been high enough to avoid cats or other predators from catching any birds. We also ensure we locate the feeders far enough away from trees ground cover that any birds pecking at fallen seed can’t be surprised by anything lurking near by.

We learned on moving in that a local family outside of our subdivision also feeds a family of outdoor cats. It was only a matter of weeks before they had trekked through the woods and discovered us. Fortunately, we’ve seen them try to jump and they can’t reach the feeders.

This is one of two cats of that local group we’ve seen take up position by the feeders. The cats don’t come around often, but every few days we see one sulking around the bottom of the feeders since it can’t jump high enough and the birds know to stay away. At some point we plan to move the feeders closer to the house but we’re giving our newly seeded back yard a chance to take first. Being animal people, we now enjoy both bird watching and cat watching as well!