Who's been eating in my yard?

beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)January 20, 2011

I have had some very interesting visitors in my yard since Christmas. Who has been coming to eat in your yard?

I started off thinking of just bird feeder visitors but this AM there was a little bunny, so I wondered what sort of critters were visiting yards and gardens in different parts of the USA. (Canada too)

Yesterday a hummingbird showed up so I mixed up a bit of food and put it out.

Today he has been back to the feeder and the gold finches were here too!!!!!!

This seems amazing to me but is it really????

Lets share reports of what critters are showing up in our yards over the next month or so.

Tell us where( in general) you live and what birds and furries are there eating in your yard this winter

BB

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poisondartfrog

Beth, I am in SE Kentucky sandwiched between a wooded mountain and a meadow that eases into a managed swamp habitat. Across the road and behind the meadow runs the Cumberland River.
I have all kinds of critters trekking through my little patch all year. The ones that stand out right now are the ubiquitous deer (emerging daylily leaves are already sheared off), bobcats, snowy and barred owls (love the owls!) and Blue Herons. The Herons have finished off the Koi in my pond again. Next year I will replace them with ordinary goldfish. I am not complaining. I enjoy all of these animals.
I am not enjoying the Weasels that are after my little flock of chickens but so far this year I have avoided casualties.
I'm looking forward to seeing what visitors others are entertaining. This was a nice idea for a thread.
Alana

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 6:02PM
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smitties

I live in Northwest Ohio but because we used to be a soybean field until we built four years ago, we don't see many critters. The occasional bunny but the cats make sure they stay away. One night last month, I looked out to see if one of our cats had come home for the night and there was the cutest little possum eating the cat food. I see a lot of hawks too. In November, my husband and brother in law found a dead fox out in the back acres, (we have five acres but our lot is narrow so the property is 1/4 deep), the best we could figure it had been hit by a car and managed to get to the back before it died. It was beautiful and it was such a shame to find it dead. As we plant more and more out in the back, we hope to see more wild life. Our back 2 and 1/2 acres are devoted to a land and water conservation project through the federal government. The goal is to plant it back to the native plants, trees, and grasses.

When we did first move here, my husband and daughter saw a coyote cross our road and we could hear them howling this past spring. Too cool.

I enjoy these postings. Neat idea Beth.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:57PM
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sjc48

I live in a small town, southeastern MI; about 2 miles from Lake Erie. My backyard is mostly cement with flower gardens all around it. So far this winter, I've had a lot of different types of birds, compared to last year. Not as much trouble with squirrels, but I think they will always show up, at some point. I've had groundhogs, possums, a skunk, a hawk, the occasional cat and one large, lost hound type dog who was so glad to see somebody human! Oh, and last summer? 15 different species of butterflies-probably thanks to the host plants I've started. I've only had 1 or 2 species per year, before I started the hosts. It was a great summer!!
I would love to see bobcats! I agree with poisondartfrog, this is a great idea for a thread. Shirley!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:09PM
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flowergirl34(5 Upstate NY)

I live in the country about 30 minutes from Lake Ontario and only minutes from the Finger Lakes in Upstate NY. As with pdf's pond the herons have decimated my koi pond. Last fall I put in regular goldfish (over 100) we'll see if they make it.

We have the regulars, a couple of stray cats, skunks, possums, we even have a black squirrel (he is very cute).
We also had a mother bobcat and her 3 cubs running across the road through a horse pasture a while ago. My daughter was so excited to see them. And last winter our friends had a bear show up at there bird feeder. The taped it and it even made the news.

I can only put a certain amount of birdseed in my feeders every morning or else that evening our 200 pound deer show up and tip the feeders sideways and drain all the seed out. We even put one feeder up high on a rope, didn't that darn deer stand on his hind legs and use his head to tip that thing over. I know when I had been beaten now I just ration.

Great thread!
vina

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 6:57AM
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diene(Z4ME)


Good Morning All;
this is a second attempt, it has been so long since I attempted to post a picture I do not know if I am doing it correctly.
This guy lives in the neighborhood and I have an ornamental cherry tree that he has no interest in during the summer but gets desparate this time of year so appears almost daily. Not sure what will happen when all the cherries are gone.
I also have lots of rabbits & squirrels as well as the occasional deer eating my cedar shrub. I will try to get a picture of that.
We are in the midst of a snow storm, pretty common here so I am not planning on leaving the house today.
Stay warm and safe all.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:43AM
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drippy(7bAL)

Good: cardinals, lots; blue jays, mockingbirds, robins, occasional woodpecker, and because my yard backs up to a creek, in rare moments, a blue heron.

Bad: can't see 'em, but I know they're there, as my yard is squishy & so much stuff is getting killed off - moles & voles. Yuck.

Love/hate: Large snakes, which I haven't seen any of now, but will be around soon.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 11:54AM
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sassybutterfly_2008(7 NorthWest GA)

I'm in NW Ga and thanks to the 2 labs in my backyard, they keep the annoying critters away from the vegetable garden area.. if only I could keep the labs from diggin in it! lol

We've got TONS of squirrels, blue jays and cardinals that pick at eachother daily, mocking bird and woodpecker, a few hawks that circle around and we've had a large owl that comes to visit once in awhile. Have had a strange number of crows start showing up - don't like those! - they pick on the regular birds and make so much noise!

We've had lots of issues with possums eating the cat food. Along with stray cats that like to make a dessert of my cat's food. (she just sits and watches, the nutter!)

We actually had an armadillo nudge around in our yard this past summer.. that one shocked me! I had NO idea those even existed in Georgia!! It was very cool to see though!

Nice thread! :)
~Wendy / sassyb

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 12:52PM
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mavis07(z7VA)

We feed the birds black oil sunflower seed and suet cakes year round so I have Cardinals, Bluejays, Woodpeckers, Tufted Tit Mouse and a few others. In the summer we have a few hummingbirds and lots of butterflys. I have two little dogs who don't know they are little and they try to keep other wildlife out of the yard!

Mavis07

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 2:01PM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

OH, I love all of your yards!!!!! I never thought there would be such a diversity. So much variety, WOW
Wendy, I remember the opossums raiding my Mom's cat's dish and the bird feeders too. I also remember one trying to raid a nest and being held off by an irate Banty Hen. That was a noisy battle.
Kim I agree on the good the bad and the ugly. Parts of our property I never go on except when it believe it is Too Cold for snakes to be out.
Great pic Diene. Thanks.
Vina and Alana, I'd love to see a Bobcat or, here I guess it would be a cougar/Mt Lion. That must have been quite a thrill.
Shirley, your butterfly garden sounds beautiful and inspiring.Did you let the dog stay???
Alana your area sounds so beautiful and makes me a bit homesick, though I don't miss the cold weather much.
Margo your "yard" sounds like it has lots of interesting visitors and so much too look foreward to.
Mavis I love the hummers and all the little birds, the butterfies too. So much pleasure from the wild critters that we share our spaces with.
Thanks to all for sharing.
BB

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 8:45AM
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sjc48

Beth - No, I gave him some water and then took him out front. His owners came and retrieved him about a half hour later. They were from way over on the other side of town, no wonder he was so thirsty! He was mostly Walker, which accounts for the hound look!
Inspiring is the right word, Beth, so inspiring in fact, that I WSed at least 15 more host plants this year! I'm buying some more trees too. It's a funny thing: all of my host plants, last year, were new, very small, just starting and the butterflies were attracted; it's almost like the butterflies scented them. I WSed stinging nettle, and the Red Admirals were flocking around it before I could get it planted somewhere!
I can hardly wait to see what happens this year! Shirley!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:24AM
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celeegra(6 NYC)

Love this thread!

I live in New York City so my wildlife is pretty much the possums that eat the catfood & the damn squirrels that eat everything else. There's been so much snow & sub freezing temps that I haven't seen any birds around at all.

The bigger question for me is 'who's been feeding in my yard?'
I've been finding random walnuts & peanuts & birdseed scattered around some of the large oak trees where I started some new flower beds last fall & I have no idea who's been leaving these goodies out. Go figure!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:00PM
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micyrey

goodmorning
since we just moved from in town to the country last summer we are still trying to figure out what all is out here with us. we have just one squirrel(had dozens at the old house) 5 diffrent kinds of woodpeckers, too many small feeder birds to count, last fall we had a continuous streem of hummingbirds, signs of deer but have not seen them yet, heard the cyots and owls, bald eagles, hawks, skunks, coons, opossoms, but the most interesting to me was the day I saw a river otter galloping past the chicken yard when I went out to feed them. best I can tell he lives in the Fabious River about a quarter of a mile south and was heading to the pond next door to eat frogs.

this is a great thread
thanks
michelle

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:21AM
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rane_grow(7 soMD)

Hi everyone ! Great thread ! we live next to a horse farm and we have a hay pasture in front of our front yard and woods behind us ... lots of critters here , esp the year round resident squirrels who wreak havoc wherever they go ...we have lots of birds year round , we feed them sunflower seeds and suet , cardinals, wrends, chickadees, titmouses, doves, blue jays , juncos, woodpeckers, sparrows, even bluebirds become spring residents in the nestboxes we have in the front yard and down by the garden ... they do their best to eat all the bugs they can find ... we had a wren build her nest on a shelf in our garage last year ... and we even have a pileated woodpecker that visits now and then ... and every so often we hear an owl hoot in the middle of the night , it always wakes us up ... so very cool to hear when they are so close to the house , especially when another owl hoots back in reply . We also have a hawk who hangs out just off our driveway , we think she is hunting for mice in the hay pasture .

Of course we also have deer here year round but they seem to show up most often when the garden is close to harvest time ... they like to eat the green beans the day before I go down to pick them .We also have bats we see in the summer at dusk flying around hopefully eating as many mosquitoes as they can get . Last spring we had baby skunks in a den in the hay pasture , momma skunk met an untimely death in the road just past the hay pasture ... a rescue group came and picked up the babies ... they sure were cute .

We also have raccoons who show up at night , we think they and the deer are responsible for raiding the birdfeeders on occasion .

In the summer we have many butterflies on the butterfly bush and flowers and hummingbirds on their feeder . I can't remember what it is called , I did look it up when I first saw it on the butterfly bush, it looks like a mutant cross between a bumblebee and a hummingbird . I love to get up close and take pictures, they don't seem to mind me with my camera, even the bumblebees pose for me LOL , I like to go out in the evening and see them sleeping on the blossoms . The hummers love to perch up high on our swamp magnolia tree , in the redbud tree or atop the highest branch of one of the fir trees overlooking the front yard . Its fun to watch the male hummers fight off other hummers trying to feed .

Never a lack of wildlife around here ;-)

Iris

PS Several years ago at the house we lived in before we moved here we had baby squirrels born in the tree in our front yard, it was so much fun to see them come down the tree and eat the birdseed and nuts we put out and run back up the tree when momma gave the its time to go home signal LOL ... I also had a fox run right past ( 1 ft away from me ) when I was in the backyard working in the flower bed.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:13AM
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smitties

These postings remind me of critters I have forgotten about. We had an eagle in the field across the road from us this past summer.

We also had the cutest family of skunks cross the field next to us the summer before last. We don't see them around but sure do smell them on occasion.

This bring to mind a story I must tell. This past summer, our black cat, Joey, took off for a couple of days which was not characteristic of him. I went out to my shed and as I was opening the door, I smelled something horrible. I looked down and saw a black furry body with flies all around. I ran into the house telling my husband that Joey was under the shed stairs dead. He went out to look and it was a skunk, not Joey. I was relieved to know it was a skunk and not our cat. It didn't smell like a skunk at all so I didn't realize it was one. Anyway, my husband dug a hole in the field next to us and buried the skunk. A few hours later, I looked out to see Joey using the dirt over the skunk grave as a kitty litter box.

By the way, our gardens are always full of praying mantis and this fall, they laid all kinds of egg casings so we should be smothered again this year. The best part is they eat insects and spiders so I no longer have the nasty corn spiders that I have been frightened off by in the past. Those things are huge and ugly.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 8:27PM
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micyrey

hello
Iris the hummingbird/bumblebee thing is a moth called a Hummingbird clear wing, there are several diffrent kinds, but they are very cool and harmless.
we also found lots of mantis last year and I scoured the weeds knowing there had to be an egg sack somewhere and I did finaly find one. my son put it in bug cage in the carport, he wants to see the babies hatch then we will spread them around the yard.
I have some afids on my tropical milkweed in the greenhouse and there is evan some lady bugs munching away at them. evan in the dead of winter there is still a garden battle going on.
goodnight
michelle

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:09PM
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beautifulreddahlias(6a)

Hi all!
I live a smaller town in Western New York, we get the usual squirrels and Chipmunks. The tree in the front of my house has 3 or 4 birdfeeders in it so I get a few types of birds. I love watching them after it has snowed because the seed at the bottom of the feeders freezes sometimes and they will knock the tops askew so they can climb in and get the seed.

We also have a neighborhood adopted wild rabbit. A lot of us leave food out for him/her and in the morning you can follow the tracks down the sidewalks to see how his night went! He's very popular on our street! Oldly enough the handfull of stray cats we had seems to have dwindled to one since he/she showed up on our street.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 7:31AM
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