Monday, March 27, 2017

Ticked off! #phenology

Over the weekend, a small flock of purple finches visited the tray feeder. Unfortunately, from my point of view, so have most of the local red and gray squirrel populations. I thought I had read once upon a time that coating the feeder pole with Vaseline would prevent access by squirrels. I must have misread, because this morning I coated the pole and, within 5 minute, a gray squirrel was back, sitting in the feeder. So, we will now return to what seemed to work last year, covering the pole with tape, sticky-side out. It is more trouble than swiping a paper towel up and down the pole, but, since it worked last year, and sing I'd rather feed song birds than squirrels ...

small flock of purple finches at tray feeder
small flock of purple finches at tray feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

Here's a cautionary annual reminder, because for years and years I had a hard time remembering until I found the first one embedded somewhere in my skin: if the temperature's above forty degrees (40℉), watch out for ticks, (actually, check #8 here) especially when we've had a milder and drier Winter than has been normal for Minnesota. I had a shirt that I wore fly-fishing that had bug repellent built in. Now I see that socks, pants, etc. with the same quality are available. As I recall, the shirt didn't smell the way some spray-on repellents did/do so I think I've some shopping to do. I wish you and yours, including the pets, a tick-free year.

The Ticks

By Douglas Florian

Not gigan-tic.
Not roman-tic.
Not artis-tic.
Not majes-tic.
Not magne-tic.
Nor aesthe-tic.
Ticks are strictly parasi-tic.

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