Unintended consequences of appeasement

Raccoon Gretchen maintains a number of bird feeders on our back deck and these feeders provide us with the pleasure of observing the interactions of 20 different species of birds.

We have recently been plagued by squirrels which will climb up on to the deck and empty a bird feeder in just a few minutes. In my younger days, I would have merely shot a few until the rest learned to keep their distance.

In our new, politically correct "age of reason", I thought I would see how appeasement would work on a local scale. After all, we have politicians who swear by the process in dealing with terrorists and illegal immigrants. Why not see how this would work on a smaller scale?

Since my neighbor Tom King made us a squirrel feeder some time ago, I decided to use it to lure the squirrels away from our bird feeders. I even set out a tray of corn for them with a big sign on it.

Sure enough, the squirrels loved the new sources of food and they played happily on the new feeders for a few days. So, I thought how wrong I have been. I could have been bribing varmints to leave us alone instead of whacking them. The politicians like Jimmy Carter were right. Kindness works!

Unfortunately the squirrels have an entitlement problem. Giving them new stuff did not make up for taking away the bird food they felt they were entitled to. They started climbing on the porch again and I started building barriers and installing mousetraps on their approach paths.

This slowed the squirrel invasion, but the continued availability of free corn in the squirrel feeders attracted a population of raccoons and long-legged squirrels. These long-legged squirrels and raccoons duke it out every night over who gets to empty the squirrel feeder.

Long-legged squirrels-sign

Whistling snorts and screeching make it hard to sleep at night. All of this activity is attracting more raccoons and they are now climbing on to the back deck and eating everything in sight.

I have tomatoes ripening in my micro garden and I don't want to lose this year's crop to visiting varmints. It's time to change my policies and enforce the borders of our living space.

No more corn for squirrels or anybody else. Let them forage for themselves and we will maintain friendly relations with them as long as they respect our boundaries. If we find unwanted furry visitors on our deck or in our gardens, we will use increasing levels of force to drive them off or remove them permanently from the scene.

We will see how long it takes to establish a new relationship with the wildlife in our vicinity. I think it should take only a few days if we do it right.

If we don't take effective action soon, we could run the risk of attracting larger predators like coyotes which follow wildlife population shifts.

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0 Responses to Unintended consequences of appeasement

  1. Jack Russell says:

    Have you considered designing a huge fence along your border, getting it “shovel ready” and applying for some stimulus money?

    Man, don’t you know any falconers? Squirrel problem? Job done!

  2. long time reader says:

    And I thought that I had nature pay a visit… I moved about six month ago, and had in my new appartment a mouse (didn’t catch it), doves (installed a net to close an open space), praying mantis, couple of bugs. But David, you really have big animals in your yard.

    Glad to read your blog,
    from the other side of the globe

  3. Mouse says:

    But, if you live in the countryside, in their back garden, don’t you have to accept that they will visit?

  4. Jim says:

    What have you started ?! Now you are on the hook for supplying other forest animals with sustenance as mandated by the UA (United Animals), a diverse organization to facilitate forest social justice, animal rights, and forest peace. The UA is currently in an elitist communal meeting to mandate your future behavior as follows:

    1. Continue to provide organic, non-capitalist feed
    2. Stop discriminating against third-world animals such as the crow and possum and feed them too.
    3. Setup and fund a czar of forest animal feeding to ensure and document 1. and 2.
    4. Get UA approval before making any independent decisions regarding your backyard.

  5. OMG Jim, I’m sorry!

    Will my unthinking attempt to improve the lot of local squirrels cause me to be targeted by the UA legal arm?

    That sounds too much like not letting any good deed go unpunished.

    I am going for the the “tough love” approach in hopes that these furry welfare recipients will become more self-reliant.

    (In actual fact, we have had a number of animals come in, look somberly at the overturned squirrel feeder and leave. We have had no more attempts. at invading the deck feeders and deck garden.)

  6. Juan E says:

    Wow, you are slowwww! Get yourself a couple of dogs. Not the “britney-paris” kind of dogs, real dogs the ones that can sleep outdoors and actually protect their human masters. That’s what they were invented!
    By the way, “enforce the borders of ‘your’ living space?” hahaha! I know THAT is precisely what the squirrels, racoons, and deers are thinking! Face it, they are not in your backyard… It is exactly the other way around.
    Thanks for your post again.
    – Juan E

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