When we decided to hang up bird feeders this summer, I didn’t have a clue what we were getting ourselves into. The plan was to take photos of birds that I could paint. It didn’t take long for the local squirrel population to find the feeders and I ended up with more pictures of squirrels than birds. At first, I didn’t mind feeding the cute furry little rats, until they became pigs, rooting out the birds. So Tim rigged up a rope and pulley system. I could just imagine what was going through those little brains as the squirrels looked up at the feeders dangling off the rope above their heads. They climbed half way up a nearby young maple tree, from the porch banister and house roof, stretching as far as they could to see if the seed could be reached from any other angle. It took a month before one squirrel dared to walk the rope. That was all it took for the feast to begin again. I watched the daredevil hanging from the bird feeder, raking sunflower seeds onto the ground as 5 of his buddies foraged through the grass below, enjoying the free lunch. So the next big idea was to catch some of these rascals and move them to a new home. I picked out a perfect place in the country, next to a creek with lots of walnuts and acorns. Setting two live traps, we waited. Finally on the third day we caught a cat! I’m pretty sure it was the same cat that beat up my kitty last summer. Tim opened the cage door and I’ve never seen a cat move so fast. We haven’t seen it since. Next, we actually caught a couple of squirrels and took them for the ride to the country. One morning, I heard Tim yelling for me, ‘come quick and look what you caught now!’ I was shocked to see a skunk happily devouring sunflower seed at the far end of the big cage. Tim and I looked at each other and asked now what do we do? We weren’t about to put it in a vehicle, Tim decided that since he had a bad knee and I could run faster, that it was my job to get him out. How in the world am I going to do this and avoid a stinky situation? This could be awful! Dread came over me as I tiptoed to the cage with a vinyl tablecloth stretched out in front. I gently laid it over the cage and fiddled to get the cage door open. At this point, I was holding my breath. I slowly backed up, and nothing! The skunk wouldn’t come out. Tim was on the front porch, watching at a safe distance and suggested I take off the vinyl cover. I gave him a shocked look and asked, ‘are you kidding?’. At this point I was sure I was pressing my luck. So back to the cage to remove the tablecloth. The skunk was curled up, apparently taking a nap, after all, he did have a full tummy. After a little coaxing with the water hose he waddled out of the cage and under our front porch. Oh goody, just where we wanted him. The next captured critter was much more pleasant, a pretty little dove. He scurried out the open door without any excitement.
At this point, we have relocated 6 squirrels and one raccoon. The birds have returned to enjoy the sunflower seed and I decided to paint some of our pesky squirrels. Turns out, I like painting them! Yesterday I saw another furry thief hanging from the feeder. Wondering if he found his way back to town or a new squirrel has moved in. Going to get my camera!