Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Living In A Wildlife Habitat

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
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Thanksgiving 2014 is history and now it’s time to look forward to getting ready for Christmas. The weather wasn’t too bad on Thanksgiving; cold, windy but no ice and snow. The critters out here seemed to enjoy Thanksgiving. We gave them extra bird seed and suet to help keep them warm.

I feel like I’m living in a wildlife habitat …

We have 12 feeders of different kinds to keep the competition down but the birds and critters still seem to fight over everything. We also put out cracked corn for passing critters and peanuts which they all love.

I participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count every year so I like to make sure all the different species stay around for the count in the second week of December. I’ve participated for more years than I can remember and always have a high count of different species of birds. In years past, we’ve had snow cover that really brings them in for the count.

While I watch and count at home, others head out into the fields and woods to count. One of these years, I just might try that count for something different.

There are several large oak trees on the homestead, so in fall I gather acorns to feed the critters during the winter when food is scarce. I have one small red squirrel who calls the homestead his home and he loves the acorns! I scatter them around the trees and feeders. He gets busy very early in the morning, grabbing an acorn and burying it either in the ground (it isn’t frozen yet) or in the hollows of trees out back.

I have to laugh, every so often he actually eats one! He is small and when he has an acorn in his mouth, it’s all he can do to climb the tree, sit on a limb and munch. He also raids the bird seed in the hanging bottle. He’s gotten to the point that he now scampers up the pole and hides his treasured acorns in the hanging bird feeder! I guess he’s running out of hiding places.

On Thanksgiving, he looked at me as I watched from the window and I think I heard him say, “I’m getting tired of burying acorns. I wish you would stop putting them under the trees!”

The resident Cooper’s hawk made a visit for his Thanksgiving dinner. I have spotted that hawk and a sparrow hawk and recently, a pigeon hawk lurking in the trees at dusk.

Last spring, I also spotted a bobcat lurking between two trees. We have a lot of wildlife out here including deer, raccoons, ‘possum, wild turkeys and the coyotes.

Samson and Delilah also enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I gave them some extra sweet feed and treats. They are really getting ready for winter, putting on their winter coats. They are very fuzzy right now as the temperatures begin to drop.

Today, the temperature is supposed to hit 60 degrees but then it drops like a rock with a high in the 30s and snow predicted.

It’s that time of year when I wear multiple layers of clothes just to walk to the barn. The wind on this hill is strong and the cold can bite right through a layer of clothes. It’s windy here all the time but the view is absolutely spectacular!

I’m surrounded by large farms and it was work as usual on Thanksgiving for my friend and neighbor as he brought in the corn in the field across the road.

He worked well into the night be bring in the corn. I could see the headlights on the tractor as he worked.

Now, it’s time to get the chimney cleaned, something I do every year, and build a nice cozy fire and curl up with a good book.

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