This has been a rather active week for encounters with backyard wildlife. The most recent encounter was with a groundhog this afternoon. I was heading out to the veggie garden to water and all of the sudden this groundhog came running towards me. We both scared the heck out of each other and stood still staring at each other for a minute or so. Then he turned back the way he had come from, went through the grapes and the sunflowers and across into the neighbour’s yard. This is a neighbour who has been known to set traps for critters such as groundhogs, so I hope the little fella is ok.
While I do not agree with setting traps in the backyard and I do consider myself to be an “animal lover,” I must confess that my patience with the grackles is starting to wear a little thin. At first glance, they are beautiful birds (those iridescent heads shimmering in the sunlight), even if their call is a little irritating. However, once we discovered they enjoy killing sparrows for sport my opinion of them changed a little bit. I could accept this if the darn grackles at least ate what they killed, but they don’t. They just leave the poor sparrows ripped apart on the ground, and I’m getting really tired of it. I’ve been looking online for suggestions of how to get grackles to stop hanging around the bird feeder. I read that safflower seed would discourage them, so I tried that. The grackles left, but so did the rest of the birds — it seems safflower seed isn’t all that attractive to several species. I read that grackles really love corn, so I bought a seed mix without corn. I just looked out and saw a dozen grackles eating it up. I really enjoy watching the birds in the backyard, so I don’t want to have to take the feeder down. However, I don’t know how many more sparrow carcasses I can stomach having to clean up!