Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring peepers

Earlier this week, I heard spring peepers and American toads singing in the marshy areas adjacent to a lake nearby. This evening (very warm), the peepers were singing away in the retention pond next to the grocery where I frequently shop. Spring is coming on the calendar and is already here in the biological world around us.

The female carpenter bees are looking for sites to drill their larval holes, the chorus of garden birds now includes towhees, cardinals, brown thrashers, wrens, chickadees, and robins, AND the woodchuck(s), I think, have just emerged to have a very nice fresh salad meal on my young spinach plants. Hhrmph.

The squirrels have been digging everywhere, but Mocha (our now low-key, pampered Golden who shares our garden with us, as well as the wildlife) also is stepping on freshly dug beds, as well, much to my dismay). At least, he's not eating my normal spring crop of Tuscan and redbor kale, primarily because the woodchuck(s) ate them in the fall.

These are trying times for a committed wildlife gardener, but diversity is important, and we've pushed out so many species as our cities, suburbs, and rural areas have impinged on natural habitats, it's hard to be too cranky about those species that have been adaptable enough to living with humans that they've been thriving, in the absence of any natural predators.

What would 'consume' a woodchuck, after all, in a suburban food web? A fierce Jack Russell terrier is all that I can think of, followed by cars. The hopeful kids in my programs who think that there are still foxes, bear, wolves, and coyotes in our garden and neighborhoods are echoing the past, instead of current reality, with the possible exception of coyotes.

After I try the Chuckster bait, I may need to resort to attractive fencing, as so many other gardeners have done before me.

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