Monday, December 11, 2017

A WINTER WONDERLAND CAN BE TOUGH ON CRITTERS

By Mary Kennedy                                       
 
This is the view from my backyard today. As you can see, most of our backyard is trees (no grass, no shrubs) and I leave it natural.  Leafy green in the summer and bare, snowy branches in the winter.                
 
It makes a nice scene (if you're warm and cozy, looking outdoors, holding a nice cup of tea) but things can be tough if you're an outdoor "critter."
 
Here are a few tips to help your wildlife friends get through the winter. In this photo, the raccoon family is eating some dried cat food. They also like veggies, greens and just about anything. I put out a little "buffet" for them each night and they gobble it up by morning.
                                                      
      
 
A good bird feeder is a must. We experimented with several until we found one that was squirrel-proof. (Don't worry, we feed our bushy-tailed friends separately, they don't go hungry!)
 
                                                                
 
You can even make a home-made one with a hanger and some orange slices.                                     
                                                        
                                                        
There are all different types and you have to experiment.

 
                                                                
Going back to the squirrels, they love nuts and any kind of dried fruit and raisins. And of course, corn cobs. You can buy them in big bags at hardware stores.
                                                           
   
 
. I still remember the cashier at Lowe's looking at me in amazement, saying, "How in the world do you cook these things?" When I explained that I bought them for the squirrels, she took a step back (as if such insanity could be catching) and said to a fellow cashier, "Well, now I've heard it all. This woman feeds squirrels!" (In a tone that suggested I must be pretty squirrely myself.)    
                                                             
                   
Bowls of water are important as my friend, Lynda Turpin suggested. Karen Rose Smith, a fellow Cozy Chick suggested heated water bowls, which is an excellent ideas.  If you're following the Cozy Chicks, you know that all of us are big-time animal lovers and are always trading ideas back and forth.
 
If you have a Christmas tree you want to discard, please consider making a "wildlife shelter" out of it. Just put it in your backyard, and squirrels, rabbits and raccoons will be grateful for their "house."  You can throw some branches on top for additional protection.
                                                        
                                                         
Hope you try these simple tips so your outdoor critters can prosper and survive the winter!
 
By Mary Kennedy

 
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