Saturday, September 15th, 2012

It worked!

image of a woodpecker

See Tuesday’s post for the backstory on this little guy.

home sweet home | 11:50 am CDT
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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

image of a typewriter ribbon“Your woodpecker’s back!” My Darling B called to me as I was making coffee Saturday morning. Five seconds later, if you’d been my neighbor you would’ve been treated to the sight of me galloping across my back lawn in an undershirt and pajama pants, waving my arms in the air and cussing, “Get the hell away from my house, you goddamned motherless bastard!” because that’s the cool, calm way I react to wildlife in a suburban environment.

I like animals as much as the next guy. I get all gooey-eyed over soft fluffy things like cats and rabbits and hamsters. Birds aren’t cuddly but they sure are pretty, even the one that comes to visit Our Humble O’Bode in the fall. He’s white with black speckles and he has a spot of red feathers like a cap on his head. He’s no bigger than the fist that I wave at him when I hear him pecking holes in the wood siding. Big holes.

He did this last year, too. There are several small patches of wood putty in the siding on the south corner where he started to peck holes, and one big temporary patch made of three-quarter inch plywood over a hole that he must’ve finished by waiting until I was at work, or by investing in a stealth beak. No, it’s not that. He’s pretty noisy this year, so unless he lost it, or only rented it, it couldn’t have been that.

When I asked The Mighty Google to tell me how to keep woodpeckers from eating holes through the walls of our house, it only laughed. There is no way to stop them, is the conventional wisdom. Short of tearing all the aluminum siding off the house and replacing it with aluminum, or battleship armor, woodpeckers cannot be deterred. And they cannot be trapped, either. It’s illegal. I can have all the guns I want, but I can’t use them to shoot woodpeckers, unless they come in through the front door and menace me so as to make me fear for my life.

I can’t shoot them, but I can offer them an alternative. They’re supposed to be drilling holes in our house because they’re looking for a place to nest, so I put up a bird house that I just happened to have handily laying around in the garage. Maybe it’s even a woodpecker house, I don’t know. If the hole’s not big enough, I think he’ll be able to handle drilling it out a little. He seems to have a knack for it.

peckerhead | 6:13 am CDT
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Monday, April 12th, 2010

mouse, miceWe have mice.

I figured the cats were keeping them down. Well, one of the cats, anyway. Bonkers is a pretty enthusiastic mouser, when one happens to cross his path, but, as it turns out, he doesn’t go out on the hunt to track them down. Boo is really very ambivalent about mice. They can come, they can go, maybe she’ll check them out when they get here, whatever.

Two or three times this winter, Bonkers brought us a mouse he caught in the basement. One morning I got up to find him batting one around on the kitchen floor. And lately I’ve been seeing little mousie calling cards all along the walls in the basement. I should have set traps before this, but, as I said, I thought the cats would be going after them so I wouldn’t have to.

Then the other day, as I was raking the cat pans, I found a trail of little black mouse turds along the wall leading behind the chimney into the next room. That solved the mystery of what they were eating. The kitty litter is wheat-based; it’d be a mouse smorgasbord, wouldn’t it? “We must have made the front page of the Monona Mouse Bulletin when we brought that stuff home,” My Darling B said. “Party at the O-Home! Don’t worry about the dumb cats!”

So how to get rid of them? On our weekend trip to the hardware store I grabbed a packet of old-fashioned mouse traps off the pegboard wall. My only worry was that the cats would be tripping them all the time and probably even get caught in them. My Darling B’s worry was that it would kill the mice.

“But they’re mice,” I pointed out.

“You want to kill them?”

“Well, no, I don’t want to kill them. Do you want them in your house?”

In the end, we agreed to try a live-catch trap, a tiny plastic box with a trap door on one end that drops and latches shut when a mouse walks into the box. I have to reset them several times a day because the cats trip them shut every time they stepped in and out of their litter pans, but this morning when I picked one of them up it was a little bit heavier than it should have been, so I upended it over this apple sauce jar and out came a mouse.

Huh. Bigger than I thought it would be.

hickory dickory dock | 3:47 pm CDT
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