Backyard Critter Conundrum… The Saga Continues

Picoides pubescens Downy Woodpecker (male)

Image by davidhofmann08 via Flickr

He’s baaack!!!

My last post on our uninvited guest was way back on Sept. 3, Brian and I thought we had moved our little friend the Downy Woodpecker on to bigger and better trees, but as it seems he’s very persistent.

We had filled in the hole he pecked in the side of the house with wood filler, hung a gold mylar banner from the house and offered him a suet ball.  It must have been the fact that we locked him out and hung shiny stuff that shooed him away.  We never did see him eating from the suet ball.  The chickadees, finches and even the blue jays seemed to enjoy it though.

I had looked on sites that said to use “Bird Tape” to repel all sorts of birds from your house and property.  It costs $12.00 for a 25 foot roll.  Even if I could find that here in Mount Forest, I came up with a cheeper version.  I just went to the dollar store and got some mylar gift wrap.  It’s the same stuff, just in a large rectangle.

I guess maybe he’s back because it has gotten colder and there has been frost for a few nights now.  I was outside this last thursday morning and saw our little buddy hanging on the side of the house.  He seemed innocent enough, just looked as though he was bug hunting, found nothing and flew off.  I let Brian know that he had returned and to keep a vigilant ear/eye out for him just in case.

Friday at around 5, Brian called me here at the store to let me know that our friend was a knock, knock, knocking in the same spot on our wall again.  He said he ran out and scared him off by waving the rake at him!!!  So after supper, up the ladder goes Brian to hang more mylar and fill in the hole the woodpecker had started this time.  At least it wasn’t as big as the last hole.  Last time he pecked all the way through the wood.

So that’s the saga of the persistent woodpecker!!  I’ll keep you up to date on how things are going.  Keep your fingers crossed for us and our house!!

On another note, I think we have another “guest” in our yard.  If you’ve read my blog before, you know we are avid bird feeders and love to see them in the yard (not on the house).  Since we feed the birds sunflower seeds, there tends to be a build up of seed shrapnel that ends up on the ground.  This is usually cleaned up by the birds who prefer to feed on the ground and the ever present squirrels.

Last night around dusk I was on the deck and saw some movement beneath the feeder.  At first I thought it was a bird, but it was much too small, it didn’t move like a bird and of course, it was much too late for the birds to be feeding.  I crept closer to the feeder and the shape disappeared beneath the grass.  Well off to the computer I go to see if I can figure out what it may be and how to keep it from joining the woodpecker from moving in with us.  Now as I said it was dusk, the shape was small and dark and it darted away before I could get a real good look at it, but I think we have a Vole.

When I looked on the internet for info the first thing I put in the search box was field mice.  I came across this site Field Mice.  Now how is this for confusing, here is part of the info they give on Field Mice aka Voles.  A full grown field mouse is between 10 to 20 nails breadth across, including its tail. What the heck is a nails breadth???  And here, read this.  A field mouse is also unusually fast for its size. It can move its legs incredibly fast and go at a speed of almost ten strals per hour. Again, I ask you, what the heck is a stral???

If you know what these terms mean and their origins please let me know… now I’m curious 🙂

One final note on our Backyard Critters.  I’m pretty sure I had mentioned that Brian and I, although trying to deter the squirrels from eating our bird seed, we did tend to feed them peanuts.  I know, kinda dumb huh.  Anyway, we have this one squirrel we call Stripy Tail, because, well, his tail is striped, that we have been attempting to hand feed the peanuts.  Well, mission accomplished!!  Stripy Tail will come right up the steps of the deck to us and take a peanut right from our hand.  As he is noshing on his nut, he allows us to stroke his tail:) Well I had one small mishap with Stripy, he bit me :0  Now it wasn’t his fault, I was feeding him a peanut and my finger got in the way.  He was trying to get a good  grip on the peanut and he got a good grip on my index finger instead.  I think we were both equally shocked.  I went in the house, washed it and put some peroxide on it and since I’m sitting here typing and not frothing at the mouth, I guess it’s safe to say that I’m ok. 🙂  Actually the bite hurt less than when you get your finger pricked for blood testing

If you are concerned, thank you, and here is a little info on

Rabies and Squirrels

Squirrels are almost never found to have rabies. And squirrels have not been known to cause rabies in humans within the United States. Bites from a squirrel are not normally considered a risk for rabies. Most small rodents and lagomorphs rarely develop rabies.


Well, that’s enough for now.  Until next time,





Filed under Backyard Happenings, General Babbling

2 responses to “Backyard Critter Conundrum… The Saga Continues

  1. donna robertson

    Lola’s cat brings her gifts of voles lately. Must be the season for them. I had never heard of them before and looked them up on the google. Just a little creepy thingy.


    • Since we don’t have Frankenstein anymore, I just don’t want him to move in with us… Apparently there is one breed of rabbit that will eat them, but I don’t think Scarlet is one of them 🙂