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Back Yard Wild Animals

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03-17-17, 05:04 AM   #1 (permalink)  
Back Yard Wild Animals

Back yard we have an assortment of both welcomed and wanted wild critters. Visit daily looking for food and handouts...

1- Raccoon
2- Opossum
2- Blue Jays

Question is what to feed them besides peanuts?
Blue Jays and Squirrels eat peanuts.
Unknown what to feed Opossums and Raccoon?

>Kindly suggest.<

Unwelcomed, unfed and ignored critters. Mice! Several noticed... These critters popular quickly and attract cats. Problem to & for blue jays and squirrels but not opossums nor raccoon.

Suggestions to keep them away and or at bay other then traps or poison baits?...:NO NO NO:

BTW: The welcomed critters have been around and been feed for years. If I'm out there they arrive, come close by and beg. Jays squawk and Squirrels beg. Feed them or they refuse to leave!...... Not out there they have no fear to get close to patio slider door and peer in!......

As if/in to say Hello.......Knock Knock anyone home...

Suggestions Welcomed.

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03-17-17, 05:51 AM   #2 (permalink)  
I've never purposely fed 'coons or 'possums but we have 2 cats that are fed on the front porch. Several times over the years we had those critters come up and 'steal' the cats food. It did bring about a funny story involving my grandson. He was about 2-3 at the time. My wife flipped on the porch light and saw a 'possum eating the cats food so she called our grandson to the door to see it. He looked, backed up and said 'mouse, mouse, BIG mouse!'

You could probably give them feed corn.

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03-17-17, 05:52 AM   #3 (permalink)  
Sunflower seeds are probably one of the most universal bird and squirrel foods. You will attract other, unwanted birds unless you use some type of feeder to restrict who can get to the seeds.

As for raccoons and opossums start tossing your kitchen and table scraps out in the yard. Those two critters will eat about anything. Of course the food will also attract mice. You can devise a anti-mouse feeding station. Maybe a low table 6-8" off the ground that mice can't get up onto but the larger raccoons and opossum will have no trouble with.

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03-17-17, 06:16 AM   #4 (permalink)  
I wouldn't worry about the raccoons and opossums. They will not survive solely on what you put out, so you either have enough natural food for them, or not, but you must if they're around. But if you are going to throw scraps out, throw them way out. You don't want to entice the raccoons too close to the house, because they will get more and more creative in regard to getting into trash cans, pawing at an outdoor grill, etc. Seems that a lot of people don't care for opossums, maybe because they look a lot like a rat, but they're good to have around because they will clean up a lot of things that other animals might leave behind. As far as birds, my wife has I think 3 different things that she stocks the feeders with; a wild bird feed mix that she gets from the mill, sunflower seeds, and thistle seed. While not the intention, the bird seed doubles as squirrel feed. Squirrels like corn on a spike too. As far as mice, not much that you can do to keep them away from the house, so the trick is to keep them out of the house. Make sure everything is caulked and sealed good, as they will get in through the smallest crevices, and, if you have an attached garage like we do, we always keep a couple of traps out there. Every fall we get a few that way. Set them next to a wall with a small piece of plywood or whatever leaning over them to keep cats from getting caught in them.

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03-17-17, 07:00 AM   #5 (permalink)  

Thanks for suggestions thus far. All are welcomed.

Wild birds are the common sparrow type. Small & Brown colored.
Hundreds of them.

Been feeding them for more years then I can remember...
Using a hung or suspended bird feeder. Which often gets raided by squirrels and all to often by those pesky unwanted mice... However, mice stay away from slider door and patio...

Except for the mice, all the critters are welcomed. Anywhere they care to be. Squirrels and Jays both welcomed on patio. They come within two feet of me and learned there is no need for fear. Mice stay away from patio and house. No home mouse entry points and fruit trees away from home.

Raccoons and Opossums slightly different. Only peer in back slider when no one is around. And not all to often... Cute to see them at back slider. Last year one had her litter of cubs trailing along... Wife was amazed and happy too!

Thought came to mind... They are all vegetarians. Yard does have a few fruit trees out back. Feast for them in growing seasons. Guess I'll buy & try some varieties of market fruits. Grapes? Strawberries? (???) Maybe some veggies too. (???)

Hum... Sunflower seeds. Welcomed suggestion.......Additional Suggestions welcomed here too.

Cats cannot catch the squirrels... Fun to watch the chase. Squirrels simply out run cats...HA HA. Always manage to stay few feet ahead of any cats. Cats eventually give up in shear frustrations... Mice most likely not caught either. Cats simply lazy and or lost the wild hunt instinct. Cats get to well feed by owners whom buy the canned cat foods.

Only fear any of these birds & critters have, except raccoons and opossums, is HAWKS!!! They too fly overhead from time to time....

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 03-17-17 at 07:15 AM.
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03-17-17, 06:37 PM   #6 (permalink)  
Well everyone gave such good advice...not sure what else to offer except that you may want to put out a salt block IF you have deer.

The mice will be a challenge no matter what...they do have supposedly "Squirrel-proof" feeders that might deter the mice as well...

Not sure what else to add LOL

I love feeding the wild critters in our area as well...we have Pileated Woodpeckers (HUGE) and Western Flickers (also HUGE) so we do several bird feeders, some squirrel friendly, and a bunch of Suet

Best Regards,

Former Vet Tech/Dog Trainer-Breeder/Cat Breeder

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03-17-17, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)  
I had to stop feeding the animals when the serial murderer moved in.
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He kills everyone he can catch, birds, mice, rats, baby bunnies, you name it.

Since you live in California it is highly unlikely that you have Blue Jays visiting, more likely they are Steller's Jays. Here is one sitting on a post in my back yard.
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Neither opossums nor raccoons are vegetarian, they are omnivores. The eat meat and plants. It used to be that cheap Purina Cat Chow was a pretty good food for possums but they changed the formula several years ago and it now includes too much protein. It is still the easiest and the least likely to cause "metabolic syndrome" a horrible condition for possums where their limbs atrophy along with other problems as long as they are still getting the majority of their food from more natural sources. Here are a couple of pictures of possums in my back yard. These may have been taken at my old house.
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And here is a raccoon that came to visit and cause mischief.
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While you watch the opossums notice how they have a thumb on their back feet. Notice also that they have fifty, yes, FIFTY teeth. I've never seen one "play possum" but I have seen one go after a raccoon that came and interrupted his eating. The possum opened his mouth wide and clamped onto the raccoon's neck. The raccoon simply shook off the possum and went back to eating the cat food.

For fun put out a couple of raw eggs, the raccoons love them. The bite off the end and slurp out the insides. Possums are supposed to love persimmons but the ones that came to my yard didn't seem to go nuts over them. I have also fed them leftover corn on the cob which the possums do love.

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03-18-17, 04:08 AM   #8 (permalink)  
Notice also that they have fifty, yes, FIFTY teeth.
Back in the early 90's we had a cold snap with below zero temps. At that time I only had a wood stove for heat. I heard the dog barking and assumed he wanted in but when I went out to get firewood [before daylight] I saw the dog was outside of his house wanting back in. Further investigation revealed a 'possum had evicted him. When I looked in his house all I saw was teeth shining in the moonlight.

It didn't end well for that opossum, I had to turn the dog house over to get him out later that morning. He found his way into my attic and would not leave So after a couple of days I ended up evicting him permanently.

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03-18-17, 08:36 AM   #9 (permalink)  
Any bird or creature is a joy to watch but what we have found is that you can tailor your feed to attract what you enjoy more.
We have found that mixed seed tends to attract large numbers of Sparrows which tend to push out other song birds by their sheer numbers.
If you hold back mixed seed and replace it with black sunflower seeds you may see a change in what comes to visit.

We also find that the same is true with peanuts.
Peanuts attract Crows, Magpies, Ravens and Blue Jays which are all related but all decimate nesting songbirds.
Many songbirds nest near our house and I am able to occasionally set up a camera on the nest and although it is in nature's plan it is tough to watch a nest get raided.
Another thing with peanuts is they attract red squirrels which if allowed to prosper will also take over feeders and try to chew their way into where they shouldn't be.
Flying squirrels on the other hand tend to keep to themselves and if there are any in your area an orange cut in half and pressed onto two finishing nails hammered at a steep angle into a piece of wood and tied to a tree will keep them around.
You would see these in the evening and you would notice them when gliding between trees.

In addition to black sunflower seeds, Nyjer or Thistle seed in a small sack feeder attract attract Redpolls Finches and a few other small birds and suet in an upside down holder attract Woodpeckers and Nuthatches.
It is funny to watch Magpies try to get the suet in a hanging upside down holder because they weren't built to do that.

We are fortunate to have Deer seeking refuge from predators by traveling through yards at night.
The food we leave for them is readily consumed.

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There are two spot lights on the eave of our two story house and they don't seem to be bothered by the lights.
Although we have seen predator tracks on the dike and ice of the marsh behind us there are no tracks in the yard.
The only thing we have captured was a Fox walking by with a small Muskrat in it's mouth.

We have come up with a solution to the cat bird killers in the neighborhood.
We are not averse to permanently dispatching certain nuisance wildlife and although cats are the biggest nuisance in our rural area we don't harm pets but have found a solution that seems to work.
I live trap any wandering cats and then with a spray can equipped with an extension straw, paint a fluorescent circle on it's rump then release it.
The worse offender, a pure white cat got sprayed fluorescent orange and hasn't been seen since.

We have sadly not had time recently to do nest cams or much photography but here is a link to the webcam site with a link in it to local birds.

GregH.........HVAC/R Tech

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03-18-17, 09:50 AM   #10 (permalink)  

Thanks Furd. Great self taken photos...

Thanks Greg. Always come thru with great info & photos...

Photos of blue jays common in my area.

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Bird Web Site Links:



Farewell Western Scrub-Jay! - FeederWatch


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03-18-17, 10:20 AM   #11 (permalink)  
The day before yesterday, we had 4 sandhill cranes in the front yard, right outside of my office, and what a racket they make. I think they may have been a bit befuddled because they typically start looking for nesting areas shortly after they return, but I'm sure it's a bit hard to find a good spot with snow back on the ground. Today I can hear them down the road a bit, so they're doing their usual spring walk about. Then that evening we had a coyote barking not far outside of our bedroom window. We hear them often, especially this time of the year, and see them fairly often, but that one was real close. We get a lot of enjoyment from having all of the creatures about.

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03-19-17, 07:37 AM   #12 (permalink)  

Common breed of squirrel seen in back yard.

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Commonly Seen Opossums:

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Common Mouse:

Frightened Dog:

Worst Nightmares:

Eyes......On You!

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Human and Wild Animals Worse Nightmares:

High Voltage Electrical Shock:

Adults Favorite Beverage:......

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 03-19-17 at 10:09 AM.
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03-20-17, 10:59 AM   #13 (permalink)  
What great pics and info from everyone!!!

I don't have any to share, sadly they're all on my other computer.

We also have both black and grey squirrels, deer, possums, 'Coons, skunks, coyotes and a neighborhood cougar(he is seldom seen but we definitely live in his territory and many folks have been lucky enough to safely see and photograph him)

We also have a mated pair of Bald Eagles who nest about 200 yards behind the house...I love listening to them "Chitter" in the morning. That's what I call their "calls" when they are not screaming or yelling about something.

What a great thread folks!

Best Regards,

Former Vet Tech/Dog Trainer-Breeder/Cat Breeder

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03-20-17, 01:12 PM   #14 (permalink)  
Our daily winter visitors include a dozen or more varieties of birds, including a couple of hawks, owls and a brief stop last week by an arctic owl. We also get deer every day. We have 8 regulars that come each evening. In the late spring they drop by to show off their fawns. I ground feed the birds when there is snow and I think the deer get more seed than the birds.

Occasional but common visitors include coyotes, two species of foxes, cottontail rabbits and turkeys (last year I counted over 40 in one flock in my back yard). Less common are bald eagles and bobcats. We see them a couple of times a year. The bald eagles are recent to our area. We just started seeing them in the last few years.

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03-20-17, 05:05 PM   #15 (permalink)  
All we get are these little birds that eat our bird seed.

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03-22-17, 08:30 AM   #16 (permalink)  

True story.

My youngest son, now age 34 whom is presently is a federal government employee as a wild land forestry fire fighter, once (when he was in junior high school) had a pet wild rabbit raised from a new born. They where together in back yard daily. Acted more like a dog then a rabbit.

Rabbit thought the back yard was it's domain solely! And it protect & marked it's territory as such. Dare any cat enter it. A stare down immediately began. Rabbit soon began to approach the cat in a display of challenge. Fight to soon occur if cat failed to retreat. All did except one unlikely one!

That cat didn't do so to it's own peril. Challenged the rabbit. Bad move on it's part!!!...

Fight to the death began. Lasted just a few minutes. It's true that a rabbit can kill a cat. How? Simple. Rolls over with cat on top. Then rabbit uses it claws to degut and de bowel cat. Messy clean up but one very happy......rabbit...

Sad issue.
At the time son and rabbit together, I never thought to take photos of that rabbit pet nor son and rabbit together...

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03-23-17, 10:04 AM   #17 (permalink)  
I finally found the one picture I wanted to share...a fine feathered friend who visits our backyard on frequent occasion...

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Best Regards,

Former Vet Tech/Dog Trainer-Breeder/Cat Breeder

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03-24-17, 09:53 AM   #18 (permalink)  

Additional wild animals in back yard:

Bearded Lizard:
Or so identified by family member.

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Lizard must have been someone's pet whom became an escapee....

Another former pet of the kids. Former because son didn't return it to the cage built for it.

Became a wild animals late night meal!!!......

No more breakfast eggs....

Met Penny. Another kids pet whom thought the entire yard was it's sole domain!!

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03-26-17, 10:25 AM   #19 (permalink)  
Good Morning to those already up.

Have another cup of brew on the house.

Attachment 78821

Tried feeding squirrels green grapes purchased from the market.
Put both grapes and peanuts in the same tray.

Peanuts taken......and some eaten immediately.

However, grapes left untouched.......

Guess squirrels around my yard don't have a taste for grapes?...

Or maybe not green grapes??? Might have to try RED grapes.

Have to buy and try red grapes and sunflower seeds next trip to market....

Try a tray offering of BEER??? Beer to help down the seeds, peanuts and grapes...HA HA.

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05-07-17, 06:26 AM   #20 (permalink)  
I like this picture because it demonstrates that, unlike Human Beings, some Dogs have acquired BOTH Patience and Wisdom:

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