Feeding Animals in Your Backyard

I have referred to this at various times over the years, but I have a passion for feeding birds and squirrels. I do it in my backyard as well as around my old law office located on North Pennsylvania.

I have multiple feeders, and the birds flock to them in the winter. I have one feeder shaped like an old barn that hangs from our gazebo, and I fill it each evening with peanuts in the shell. In the morning around 9 o’clock blue jays and various finches arrive to carry the peanuts away, and it is a pleasure to watch them quickly fly in and out to eat their peanut in a tree.

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

I also have several suet feeders to attract woodpeckers. A variety of them arrive, including Downy Woodpeckers, Flickers and the largest woodpecker in North America, the Pileated. The Pileated is the size of a hawk, and no other birds disturb them when they decide to descend for a snack.

Sparrows and finches of all sorts descend at their leisure, and cardinals arrive in force. Cardinals are the last to leave before darkness, and as many as 20 of them will surround the bigger feeders.

On top of that, I enjoy laying out peanuts and ears of corn on the ground for squirrels. They are intelligent animals, and their ability to find a way to climb protected feeders makes them resemble a furry Houdini.

I particularly feel the need to supply food for the squirrels near my old office, and I try to do so daily. I suspect that these squirrels have to fight to find food in the winter, and I watch them as they will take some of the peanuts and bury them in the ground so that they can dig them up during hard times.

Though I had two uncles who loved hunting, I never was attracted to it even as a child. I didn’t like killing rabbits or squirrels, as I thought they had a right to co-exist with human beings.

And being a student of history, I know how we humans have wiped out various species since our arrival in North America. The Great Auk disappeared quickly from islands off the Northeast coast simply because of our irresponsible greed. And we should never forget that we nearly wiped out the buffalo and the California Condor, and we owe a debt to those who preserved those species.

In closing, let me note that I have always been puzzled by human beings claiming that we are the highest evolved form of life on Earth. In support of that proposition we cite our ability to reason. However, we remain the only form of life that will kill other members of our species for the hell of it, something not done by lions, tigers or bears. Good grief, even white sharks will only kill for food.

Ironically, as we claim to exist on a higher plain than other forms of life on Earth, wouldn’t it be a more peaceful existence if we could learn something from the lowly Tree Sloth?