Corn sure brings them in

January 28, 2016

Pat Maurer

Pat Maurer

We have been putting a little corn out under the bird feeder lately, hoping to keep a multitude of squirrels happy and save a little seed for the birds.
I’m not sure that was the best idea though.

Since the snow arrived just after Christmas, there have been loads of birds visiting the “Maurer Buffet” on the daily basis and now we have five or six squirrels as well. Two are fox squirrels, two are black squirrels and there’s a couple of red squirrels. They can empty those feeders in no time.
I love to watch their antics, but they are pretty greedy…

They aren’t the only ones. The addition of a little corn thrown under the feeders is also attracting five or six local deer, who eat the corn up, leaving the squirrels free to claim the seed in the feeders as their own again.

If the corn supply is gone, as it often is, one of our little herd, a doe will stand up on her hind legs and use her tongue to scrape as much seed as possible out onto the ground for the group to eat.
As you can imagine, Jack is hard pressed to keep the feeders full lately.

And we now also have a long Canadian goose who has evidently taken up residence near the corn supply and has been hanging out under the feeder pretty regularly for the last few days.

He is something new at the feeder. We have had ducks, but no geese. This one is a loner either without a mate yet, or who has lost one. I’m told they mate for life, and he seems pretty lonely to me.
Jack, of course, thinks he is only the forerunner in a whole “gaggle” of the huge birds and is already

Resident goose

Resident goose

suggesting ways to “discourage” this solitary visitor…

We had a swan that took up residence in the yard between the house and river one summer. He was fiercely territorial and threatened anyone who ventured out into the yard that he obviously considered his very own. We were sitting around a campfire in the fire pit one evening when he began honking and “charging” us with wings out.

That was the last straw for us. After all we pay the taxes on this place and we weren’t about to give it up to a squatter no matter how pretty he was.  I finally changed his mind on that score with the help of a broom… It took a few times of standing up to this beautiful bully, but he finally gave in and relocated to “parts unknown.”

Over the years, we have had some pretty interesting visitors on our little piece of “heaven” on the Tobacco. When steers were fenced in across the river they would occasionally get out. One time, our old cocker spaniel Charlie actually bit one right on the nose, when he came across the stream and got too close to one of the grandkids. I didn’t know something so big could jump so high…and he certainly moved pretty fast in his hurry to get “back home” again.

Charlie, who weighed less than 30 pounds to the steers probably 200, certainly strutted his stuff when he finished chasing the bovine back across the river again.

Last year, we were sitting in the living room which overlooks the river when we were surprised to see a coyote zoom right across the yard. Just behind him came a whole batch of hounds who were hot on the trail and behind them, (one the road of course) were the hunters after their trophy.

We hear the coyotes singing all the time in the summer months, but this was our first actual sighting.
Even in the winter — You gotta love living in the country…

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