We love to feed the birds; and have… um… lemme see… five feeders. Two for the hummingbirds, one suet feeder for the woodpeckers (and whoever else shows up), one filled with thistle seed for the finches, and one full of mixed seeds for everybody else. All except the mixed seeds feeder require visitors to land and feed directly on the feeder. The mixed seeds are a different story.
Almost all birds will visit the seeds feeder at one time or another. Some, like rose breasted grosbeaks, are dainty and perch on the little ledge to get their meals. They just nibble out of the little tray and then will find a nugget of choice and fly away with it. Others, like blue jays, will toss seeds out of the feeder until they find what they want. We call blue jays the “punk rockers” of birds because of their flamboyant plumage and mannerisms. They and others like starlings and grackles used to annoy us greatly with their dumping of the seeds; but then we realized that they give all the ground feeding birds a nice smorgasbord from which to choose.
Only one problem with all that seed on the ground. It attracts mammals. Bunnies, squirrels, and even raccoons will stop at the base of the feeder and get their fill. That can be cute if they all behave themselves, but until we took several “anti-squirrel” measures, we’d often come home to a feeder that was full in the morning but emptied to the ground by afternoon. Thankfully, that’s no longer a problem.
There’s one “cute” little critter species, however, that has become quite an annoyance.
They’re cute alright. Kinda colorful markings too. But if you are married and your wife has an interest in raising flowers in the vicinity of the bird feeder, they can become quite a nuisance. They love to burrow, you see. And too often, the soft soil of my Beautiful Girlfriend’s flower bed is very accommodating to their tunneling habits. Only problem with that is: plants don’t like having their roots exposed to the air. So my Sweet Lovely Bride will toil and place her plants just so, only to have some of them die because of burrowing rascal rodents.
It’s very obvious that these little dirt monkeys are the culprits. They pop out of nowhere when we’re walking near the flower beds; and then we see the little hole from which they zoom in and out. Their activities have not made my Amazing Love very happy at all; and she has resorted to calling them foul names. “Why the *@#! do they dig in my *@#!ing flower beds??” she asked not too long ago. Being the dutiful hubby I am, I looked it up on the interwebs, then conveyed what should have been an obvious answer: they like seeds.
We’ve been feeding birds for many moons, but the chipmunk problem is relatively recent. There are predators that keep them in check; and we’ve been raising whole families of those for many moons too. They’re called kitty cats. Our cats have always been allowed outside; and for almost all of her 21 ½ years our beautiful calico, Never Anne, would keep their numbers down. That baby killed pretty much anything that moved!!
Well, Nevvie is gone to the Big Kitty Cat Playground In The Sky. We do have Freddy the Freeloader; he’s our one and only kitty now (we’ve often had several at a time). Freddy was a feral who adopted us; and although he knows how to hunt, he seems to have become rather fat and lazy these days. It’s very possible he’s spoiled. Our family does not use poison baits, so since Freddy wasn’t bringing us any dead chipmunks, I started waging war on them with more humane methods. Stomping their tunnels – they just dig again. Flooding with water – lasts a little longer but pretty much the same result as stomping.
Then finally the light came on. The water seemed to work alright, I just needed to add a little something to it. Something like used kitty litter!! The clumping kind works very well for this. So I filled a plastic bucket with water, then started dumping in the kitty droppings. Let it set for a couple days so it gets nice and stinky. Stir it with a stick, taste it to make sure it’s… NO!!! NO TASTING!!! GACK!!
You can probably guess the next step. Chipmunks do NOT like kitty cat stinkwater. Gee, I wonder why?? So my new and improved control method is to douse the offending burrows with Kitty Kaka And Wee Wee Nasty Juice Mixture Surprise. Hey… maybe I should bottle it and start marketing the stuff!! Anyway, for good measure, I make sure some of the solids go down the hole too. Very effective!! This might gross some of you out, but please keep in mind that we don’t eat what grows in the flower beds. And if there’s any fresh stinkwater application, I make sure to warn my Honey Pie so she can remember to wear gloves while doing her garden work.
Feel free to use this recipe at your house. One thing to keep in mind though: mosquitoes do not seem to care what kind of water they lay eggs in. That’s right kids, I’ve actually seen mosquito larvae in the stinkwater bucket!! After seeing that, I make sure to check regularly; and dump all the water before the larvae can mature. God only knows what nasty diseases such creatures would carry if they hatch out of such nastiness!!
We still have chipmunks stuffing their faces at the base of the bird feeder; but at least they’re not messing up my Baby’s flowerbed. They don’t look anything like the ones that Disney made famous in cartoons. Here are those two chipmunks who are famous for their shenanigans.