Many of you know that my husband has a hobby building things. And many of you know about all the wildlife we have here in the country - not all of which is well loved by us. We have many bird feeding stations in our backyard which we fill with black sunflowers only. The number of birds and species of birds we get both winter and summer is wonderful!
But we have discovered something - it is not only birds that love sunflowers. Deer love them, and we get a group of 4 deer at the same time twice a day to clean up what the birds have scattered from the feeders. Not only that, they actually tip the feeders that hang to pour the seed directly down their throats. I have picture proof!
And then there is the elusive fox that comes to feed on sunflowers. It is a rare treat to see him as he is very cautious, and only comes when it is dusk or dawn.
But the one creature that we don't like to see, and that frequents the feeders every few days are the porcupine. All the dogs we have had since moving here 17 years ago have been quilled, which is a very painful experience for me...seeing the vet remove the quills (after the men have tried and failed). As well, they have gnawed on the house siding as they love wood. They have climbed our Diamond Willow bushes and stripped the branches of their protective covering.
From our backyard to our upper deck is 17 steps, and the porcupine climb those stairs to eat the seed which lands on the deck from one of the bird feeders. There was even a baby that climbed up one night and couldn't get back down, so was mewing at our bedroom window for its mother. With the help of a broom to direct its path, it finally found the stairs and learned how to fall/stumble down them at 2:00 a.m.
Recently, there has been more porcupine activity than usual, so my husband researched, and built a live porcupine trap! We set the bait with salt. If any of you have read "Poppy" to your children (a children's book by author Avi), you will know that porcupine LOVE salt. An apple core with salt sprinkled over it was beyond tempting to the first porcupine. At 1:30 a.m., she walked into the trap and ate the apple core, then proceeded to begin chewing through the wood of the trap. That was the noise that wakened us. Syd got up, carried the trap into the back of the Jeep, and drove to a place a few kilometers from our home to release the creature into a new location, far from homes and farms.
Two nights later, we captured another porcupine which we believe is the mother of the first one captured. This one came a bit earlier in the night - only 10:30 p.m. Once again, Syd placed the trap and creature into the Jeep, and drove to the same place to release it, hoping it would find its baby. Here are a couple of pictures of that capture.
This morning we found evidence (scat) that a THIRD porcupine is here!!!! Once again the trap will go out tonight. Guess we had a colony that we didn't know about. So glad Syd built that trap!