Right out of the gate, let’s get this out of the way…
It is entirely possible that you gathered, from my last post, that I was being a little dramatic about the minor damage the coons were inflicting on my hostas. Due to the less-than-magnificent photograph.
How about this one?
A little clearer?
Yes. Things have progressed.
It is a vendetta.
A vendetta against the only thing that makes that hideous pole not an eyesore.
Alright, fine. Maybe it’s not a vendetta. Maybe it is just not possible to have anything nice in a place perpetually sprinkled with sunflower seeds. The chickens never even let that hosta get past eruption. The bears thank me for the gentle carpet in which to lay whilst they lap up the black gold. And now we’ve become the all-you-can-eat diner for the local coon families.
One mama. Four round little runts. All snarfing down spent sunflower seeds and sterilizing the hosta rhizomes. They waddle in around 11 each night. Chatter. Snuffle. Destroy. And leave.
I hate coons.
I guess, if I had to choose, I’d opt for destruction of the hosta over the decimation of the flock that used to plague our evenings. One hosta vs. dozens, hundreds maybe, of chickens, through the years. I guess this is better.
(What chicken decimation, you ask? Well, there was some here. And little here. Those are just a couple of the many massacres, only a few that I deigned to record in the annals of the Nexus. There were many, many more. So many more.)
Still I’d like to wring they’re little necks.
For now I’ll just take pictures. Seems guarding the hosta with a shotgun could be considered a tad over the edge.
This lady likes to visit around the same time of evening as the coon-family-that-snacks-together-and-seemingly-stays-together, for a little drink:
Honestly, she visits All De Time, night and day. She and her posse. She’s got a girlfriend that even stops in with her bambino. Everybody’s gotta drink.
(Also, just for the record, deer are messy drinkers. It is a rare night when they can manage to lap up their agua without throwing the bird-bath to the ground in a rage. Sometimes they even get angry and huff about it. Walk up to the windows of the house and look in at me, the up-ended bath behind them, drained. Like I was the one who emptied their drink.)
It’s a wildlife preserve out here these days. Send away all those loud and rowdy kids, and the forest doesn’t waste time in reclaiming the land…
Just yesterday, Emily and I were sitting out on the picnic table when one of those pretty whitetail ladies, or possibly their teenaged brother, started blowing and huffing from within the woodline, as they do. I figured she was just yelling at us, peesed that we were disturbing her afternoon snooze, but man, she was pretty adamant. We were both staring off towards the garden, me gently asking the hidden huffer what her precise problem was, when a bobcat came trotting out from her general direction and crossed behind the garden. True tale. Twice that bobcat sauntered by, a blowing deer hot on his tail.
If the wolf pups start casually wandering through our yard again, I think it might be time to import some kids to make some noise around here. Or bait the wolves.
I’ve been waylaid.
I wanted to tell you about the coon, and I wanted to tell you about the other excitement at the feeder.
No, not the bear. The bear has found greener pastures for the summer.
And the birds aren’t super-wild about the sunflower seeds at this point either. Also with the greener pastures.
But the feeder remains, a snack bar for bored grosbeaks and courting cardinals (truly; that’s another story, for another day).
Also, a potential McMansion for the resident wren.
A few weeks ago, the bubbly and boisterous songs began. The wren is one of the most aggressive songsters. If you could be scolded in song, it would be a wren at the mic. Gorgeous, frivolous even, and In Your Face. Every year they surprise me as they scout the yard for houses and fill the air with all that musical shouting.
This year, however, it was closer than usual, the shouting.
This wren was spending an inordinate amount of time on the crossed rebar at the top of that ungainly black pole, the one with the feeder dangling from one end. He sits up there and yells, seemingly in the window, at me. I’m sure it’s not personal, but sometimes it is, so you never know.
And after a few days of this barrage, one really has to wonder.
I started to watch.
It’s that time of year when the boys go scouting for suitable fixer-uppers in nice neighborhoods and commence the fixing up. They flaunt their wares at several prospective sites, filling them with the best sticks and the most expensive stuff from Crate and Barrel, hoping to lure their loves in with charming decor and rent control.
They’re aggressive buggers (as their songs demonstrate), and they’ll evict other birds, even significantly larger birds, from anywhere they think might score them a girl. (Seriously, with these tiny guys screaming in your door night and day, I’d willingly make the move to a new set of digs without such obnoxious neighbors.)
The girl wrens then go on a parade of homes, and choose their mate based almost exclusively on his pad and his decorative style. Then they spruce things up a bit more. Take it up a notch.
So I’m not entirely positive at what point in this process I started paying attention, but I’d lay money on my hunch that I was watching the boy-bird, because boy oh boy was he in advertising mode. He was like the world’s worst realtor. I could even smell the fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. And he was determined to evict every bird that stopped by for a snack, as one might reasonably be expected to do, you know, at a feeder. He yelled and he hollered and he chased and made a general spectacle of himself. It was quite the sight.
So as my guy sat there on his iron perch and sang his heart out and scolded all the regulars, I watched, and formed my hypothesis. It took a little bit to prove, but I am proud to report that I was spot on, and our man was indeed sneaking in under the eaves and filling that massive feeder with sticks, hoping to lure in the ladies with an open floorplan and lots of natural light, with windows on literally every side. He’d yell and scream, and then tuck in with another piece of furniture. Then he’d come out and defend his turf again, the little bird that could.
No. It didn’t work.
I believe this was our guy’s first stab at wooing, and he forgot to consult the guidebook that would have told him how cozy the rest of his species likes things. Very hygge. Let me just tell you that this modern behemoth was anything but hygge. Gaudy, I believe, is what I heard the ladies saying. Cold and echo-ey. A few wondered what he was trying to compensate for.
So no one moved in, but that palace is still out there swinging in the breeze, with more sticks inside than seeds. I don’t know who set him straight, but he eventually gave up on the American Dream of the biggest villa on the block.
Our man still yelleth, though. I’m not sure if anyone has answered his call, but still he yelleth. His efforts are focused in now on a more suitable space for a family, however, so we shall see.
And he has nearly built himself right out of the house.
Somehow he still squeezes in, but honestly, I don’t know how. If he has successfully seduced a ladybird, she may have to do some serious remodeling before she can wiggle her little bottom in to lay a clutch.
I dunno. Maybe this is her. Maybe the remodel is underway. I still think it’s him, but what do I know?
Watching the next generation set up house can be exhausting. You just have to shake your head.
I am glad they didn’t commit to that chateau over the half-hosta though. It’s a shame to be caught in a place you can’t afford.
As I type, I can hear the bird-bath being sloshed empty and knocked over. It’s 11:04pm.
The hostas should be under attack within moments.
I have to go to bed.
If you need me, I’ll be fortifying security around the house,