Dilemma: Bugs, Birds, Bears, and Cats

grasshopper eating a sunflowerThis is my garden dilemma:  I have a grasshopper infestation.  I need a natural way to get rid of the bugs, as I am an organic gardener.

Attract birds that will eat them, is my first thought, but I have cats that go outside.  If I feed birds in summer it’s only the hummingbirds.  My cats would never be able to catch one of them.  In fact, neither of my cats are big hunters, but I imagine that birds get nervous when they look down and see cats in the yard, so they move on.

If the birds do end up eating the grasshoppers, they will be down near ground level.   The grasshoppers are feasting on the leaves of many of my garden plants.  If I put out feeders, I feel like I am inviting birds to their death, because of the cats.

Summer bird-feeding can also attract black bears in my area.   Continue reading “Dilemma: Bugs, Birds, Bears, and Cats”

A Birdbath For the Robins

Robin in birdbath
An Evening Ritual, Robins Bathing

My car has been on the fritz so I’ve been stuck at home for days. I usually stay home as much as possible and since I work from home, it’s not so difficult. My daily ritual includes getting up early working most of the day until my son gets home from school, then I head outside to dig, plant and shovel dirt into my gardens. After I come inside and shower I sit in my chair and watch Special Report and it’s right around that time of day that the Robins begin their evening ritual of splashing in the birdbath.

It’s a safe time of day for them because my cats have been brought inside for the night. They get busy digging for worms in my lawn (or, non-lawn) and then go get cleaned up in the birdbath. When I am outside watering new plantings I always clean out the birdbath and add new water. They certainly do enjoy it and they are fun to watch. I’m not a very good photographer when it comes to animals, but this shot of the robin has him looking straight at me!

A Visit From the Barred Owl

barred owl
Barred Owl Out Back

One of my winter stories includes a daily visit from this barred owl. It is common in my area of the country and for a while I would see it sitting on a branch near my backyard. The birds still came to eat and didn’t seem worried about it, and even a few squirrels ran around either unaware or unafraid. I was a bit nervous about letting my cats out, but the owl just sat in the tree for hours and didn’t move except to look around.

I had to look up the owl to find out what food it favors and it eats lots of little stuff, like mice and voles, snakes and even crickets. It has been seen taking a cat, but it’s not a normal thing for it to do. I doubt this guy was hunting anyway since it was in the middle of the day when I would see him / her.

Maybe he just wanted a nice branch to rest on.