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Jan 28, 2014 01:03 PM

What, if any, scraps do you put outside for the local wildlife?

I do not hate squirrels, even though they have damaged my porch. I hand-reared Poopsie when I was 6 and reintroduced him to the wild. I have put peanuts and dried corn on the porch for them in winter. Where my patience runs out is when they take over the feeders with sunflower hearts that I intend for the wild birds. Unless I also cater to the squirrels, they will monopolize the "squirrel-proof" feeders to the extent that the birds can't feed.

I freeze mixed seed in empty milk cartons, or ice cube trays, topped up with water. These logs and cubes, tossed out for the squirrels, distract them from the bird feeders. I also toss ends of carrots, apple peels, and other produce trimmings out on the ground and they do disappear though I'm not sure who's eating them.....there are also wild rabbits, mice, and chipmunks here, but as far as I know, no deer, wild turkeys, or coyotes. Possibly skunk, opossum, and raccoon. There are two roaming cats, no loose dogs.

The other day I trimmed mold from some cheddar and parmesan and tossed that out, too. It was gone the next day. What scraps do you share with backyard denizens, and have you noticed anything they DON'T accept?

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  1. I am reluctant to throw out any scraps that might attract geese, as their presence in this town is getting close to pest status. The Canadian geese have figured out that the weather is tolerable all year long and that if they hang out in local parks there is plenty to eat..(both because kids love to feed them and because there are plenty of natural food sources as well). So many retire here, and aren't migrating. I like geese, really, they are beautiful birds. But I can't walk in ANY of my favorite parks without having to dodge goose poop every step of the way.

    And after reading "Night of the Grizzly" ( I think that's what its called, or maybe its "Night of the Grizzlies" I would NEVER feed a meat-eater. So the only wildlife I feed are birds that can reach my two bird feeders (one of which is a hummingbird feeder). And I do that for selfish reasons: I love watching hummingbirds and listening to songbirds.....

    14 Replies
    1. re: janetofreno

      As you know, we live half the time at the lake so putting anything out, including bird seed will attract the bears. As they say "A fed bear is a dead bear." So I can't feed the other critters. But the squirrels I see out and about (no snow!) look good.

        1. re: Raffles

          Black although they still look kinda brown to me :) I committed two grievous sins a couple of years ago. I left the window over the kitchen sink open and I left meat on the counter. At 3AM, mama bear removed the screen from the window and came in. I made so much racket getting downstairs that she fled. Stood under a nearby tree with her two cubs just calmly looking at me. I needed no further lessons. Oh, she didn't get the meat (pheasant) and when I served it the following night I didn't mention to our guests that she had, in fact, touched it :)

          1. re: c oliver

            Does licking fall under your description of "touching"? I think if a bear licked my pheasant that should be disclosed to me prior to my eating. Now when you invite me over for dinner I'm going to have to bring a list of potential animal(s) and parts of animals might have come into contact with my food.

            The advantage to being my size and 3/4 Italian if this were to happen to me and I ran downstairs in my pj's (just a pair of gym shorts) The bear would just assume I'm one of them, wearing gym shorts, and just leave.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              Oh my god. You had me snort laughing at this.

              1. re: jrvedivici

                I'm pretty sure she just used her 'hand.' One of the best damn things I've ever cooked. (Thanks, James Beard.) You think I'm going to spoil it by squealing?!? I'm pretty sure Julia Child would have totally approved!

                1. re: c oliver

                  I'm starting to wonder the truthfulness of this story;

                  A.) You're "pretty sure she just used her hand", so your not really sure, she could have humped the thing before you got down stairs and you just saw her "petting" it.
                  B.) Bears don't have hands!!!!
                  C.) You know the bear was a "she"? Just how much time did you have to "inspect" the sex of the bear?
                  D.) I think Julia Child is turning in her grave right now over this!!

                  I'm onto you C..........I'm watching you.

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    Trust your elders, junior!!!

                    You know perhaps she did "hump" it now that you mention it but it did slow cook for quite a while :) They can call 'em hands if they want to. Since the cubs only hang out with their moms it was a safe guess. Julia would probably ask for seconds :)

                2. re: jrvedivici

                  did the gym shorts have fur on them?

                  1. re: treb

                    You've got to tip me to tell...............

                3. re: c oliver

                  They have broken into our deer camp 4 times.3 broken windows and one broken door, and yes, we had removed all food. It started when they stole a garbage can full of dog food off the screened in porch, that they carried away a 1/2 mile into the woods! I can see Yogi laughing!!

                  1. re: Raffles

                    That's what starts it. They get success at a particular place and return and return. We like and want to protect our local bears so we do our best. As I said, I was totally at fault...and the two scrapes in the screen remind me of that every day!

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I made friends with a young teenage female black bear (2 yrs old) back in '91 when working for a year with Voyageur Outward Bound out of Ely, MN. She kind of got a crush on me and followed me around. It got to the point she would either open the door or break into my "screen house" to wake me up in the morning (basically a 4 bedroom, one story building, no other rooms, with bug screen from waist height up.) The way she woke me up was to take my wrist in her mouth and lick it. I never fed her, but I think she found me tasty...

                  2. re: c oliver

                    I'm luxuriating in glee, imagining the gagging horror of the special snowflakes who are convinced *their* counters are never cat-trodden when no one's home, when they read your confession. Good for you!

            2. Sugar water for the humming birds in the summer, black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. Scraps in the winter attract Rattus norvegicus .No seeds or scraps of ANY kind in the summer because of Ursus americanus, they are a very real problem where we summer.

              1. I don't like to attract animals of any kind close to the house, but in back of our property there is an area of woods where deer frequently cross. In the winter, if the snow is deep and their food sources are slim, I throw apples back there for them.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kat

                  We have apple trees that drop fruit within our pool ensclosure. We take them and throw them into our rear woods by a ravine for the deer to eat.

                  We also place stale bread in the same area. Nothis is placed within the fenced areas of our yard so as not to attract wildlife that could be injurious to our domestic animals.

                2. I have several bird-feeders round the garden and, at this time of year, keep them topped up with peanuts and a seed mix. Apples which are well past their prime get chucked under the shrubs for blackbirds. Bread, cheese, bacon rind all find their way to the feeding table.

                  I need to be careful as we have a rat problem in the area and I don't want to do too much to encourage the rodents to come my way.

                  1. No, because we live on the edge of Maine's Northern Woods. We have critters that can be nuisances (Raccoons, Possums, Skunks), critters that can be a problem (Moose, Deer, Turkeys), and critters that can be downright dangerous (Coyotes, Bears, Cougars). While we enjoy seeing our animal neighbors as they pass through our expansive backyard (and we see them all) we prefer that they don't stick around too long.