Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Circle of Life -- Unintended Consequences

Preferred name: Giant Mouse
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't that what they say?  But here's the back story, if you're interested.

Wildlife gardening
We love to feed the wild birds and try to keep a variety of feeders around the garden.  It's such a treat to see the perky little chickadees nibble on sunflower seeds.  We've enjoyed watching cardinals and wrens raise their families.  Witnessing the great hummingbird migration is a special turning point of the spring and fall season.  And lately, though they don't come to bird feeders, we've enjoyed a nightly chorus of owls, calling to each other back and forth in the late evening.

Not shy at all -- will hold his ground until the last second.
But.  There's a reason those owls are hanging around now.  These creatures, which I prefer to think of as giant mice, are also attracted to the birdseed we put out for our friends, the birds.  The giant mice don't realize they are unwanted.  It's a paradise on earth for them, until they're snatched up one evening by a hungry owl.

Where's an owl when you really need one?
Feeding the birds attracts giant mice -- bad.  But the giant mice in turn attract owls (good) and larger snakes (perhaps not so good).  In my heart, I know the answer.  Don't put out birdseed,  Rely on native plantings to attract wildlife.  And accept that sometimes wildlife is just that: wild.  Sigh.  Mother Nature and her furry little team win again.  That is, until the owls come up to bat.


  1. We learned this lesson in our garage over the summer. The Husband stashed a gigantic bag of sunflower seeds in a cupboard (with a door that almost would close. As I was tidying up things this fall, half of the bag of seeds was gone, and there was an enormous mountain of shells nearby. This would explain the rash of mice that we experienced earlier this year. I asked The Husband nicely to please secure the seed in a better location next time. He grumbled at me. I really was nice about it. Sheesh.

  2. At least the mice are part of the food chain. We have several bird feeders, and now my neighbor's cat wants to hang out. This angers me, as the cat is very well fed, and I'm not sure he is after the birds for food.

  3. We too have problems with cats near the feeders. And hawks yesterday. Today hardly any birds due to the cats. No mice though.