When we considered buying this house, one of the biggest plusses for it was a second garage and a little apartment above it. Those with adult children know that being able to offer them their own private space, even a small one, is worth its weight in gold.
Literally, if you are buying a house in Austin right now. Grrr.
On the first floor, adjacent to the garage, is our office, a decent size room with its own AC. I love the office. Love, love, love. I can hide in there to work and nobody will bother me. When you work from home, having a separate space dedicated to your job is amazing, because it allows you to have time off. You can “go to the office,” even if that office is a separate laptop on the kitchen table, and then you can put the laptop away and “come home.”
As I’ve mentioned, I adore the office. Tuna also adores the office. She dutifully arrives there every morning to
lay on the desk and on my table and be a nuisance to help us write books. Sometimes she runs into the garage in a huff and can’t be readily found. The last time this happened, we left the office door open so she could get out.
The door remained open for a couple of days. When we came back to work, I noticed a piece of grass sticking out of the fan light. I turned the light on.
Some enterprising birds used this opportunity to sneak into the office and try to build a nest. I suspect the sparrows. They are rude to begin with.
They have two perfectly good birds houses set up for them in the trees. Do they use them? No. They decided to build a nest in the fan light.
Gordon climbed the ladder and quickly learned that no eggs were laid, so we dumped the nest out.
The office door will now be closely monitored and shut. Birds are one thing. Baby skunks are a completely different thing, and I don’t want to find any of them in our office.
I found a chipmunk in my bathroom once that my cats gifted me.
I had this brilliant idea to build an outside pen for my coons off my bedroom, accessed via the bedroom window. Chloe and Scooter never did realize that coons were supposed to like the great outdoors and after I woke up one morning sharing my covers with a mouse my Lily “gifted” me, I didn’t leave my bedroom window open.
Karen the Griffmom says
Sorry the house hunt is not going well.
Here it’s the wrens. At my parents’ place, they nested in the hanging baskets on the porch. They nest in the supports of the screened porch overlooking our patio. They nest in the tackroom at the barn if I leave that door open, and behind the doorframe in the hayroom if I don’t. They are fun to watch and are a big help with the insect control, but I would have to draw the line at having them in the house.
We have skunks, including babies, but they’ve never nested in the barn. They just patrol the manure pile for grubs, for which I thank them when I see them.
At least it wasn’t a nest of murder wasps!
Moderator R says
???? not this time https://ilona-andrews.com/2018/on-husbands-peculiar-behavior-of/
Hmm if you have the option of building a nest in an outdoor bird house or a climate controlled office ….. looks like the office won. Smart birds ????????
Living in NYC most critters trying to get into your space are roaches, spiders, mice and rats. I’d prefer birds ????
At my In-Law’s house in Germany, they had a swallow’s nest in their vestibule. It was considered good luck.
Donna A says
My cousin is quite citified and was staying in the Cotswolds during the UK’s first lockdown last year. He kept going on about how he was loving the countryside, generally making us all jealous, extolling the virtues of his farming life etc. Suddenly one night I got a frantic video call and he was crying, hysterical, something was in the kitchen, what was it. I got him to calm down and have a look by taking his phone with me on the line.
It was just a young swallow from the portico, must have fledged/fallen into the kitchen, attracted by the light and freaked out flying around from cupboard to cupboard.
I still have the footage of him screaming and dropping the phone, it made for great family fodder ????
I found a toad once in the living room of my new place. All doors and windows closed. No clue how it got in. It scared my cat 😀
I always laugh when I go to Home Depot and see birds flying in the rafters in the main store. I think I’ve occasionally seen a couple at various Costco stores, too, but I imagine they have to figure out how to shoo them out since Costco has food. (Better birds than aliens critters, right, Dina?)
I used to work at a warehouse retail (not home Depot this time), and we would get birds all the time. The worst part was that people would yell at us all the time for “animal cruelty” because HOW DARE YOU TRAP INNOCENT BIRDS INSIDE! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT BIRDS ARE WILD CREATURES WHO BELONG OUTDOORS?… all the time … I don’t know, maybe they thought that we purposely released them in there for aesthetics? There are days when I hate retail.
I’m not sure which store it was–maybe a supermarket–but I was taking a picture of a bird that was inside and one of the employees came over and told me not to.
I wasn’t going to post it or anything–I just rarely get the chance to capture birds on camera.
Courtney Mincv says
I’m a vendor in a major retail chain and see birds in stores every summer. A coworker told of arriving at her store at 3AM one morning and all of the employees were out in the parking lot. She asked if it was a bomb threat or fire alarm. Nope. They were having bird removal. Someone was hired to shoot the birds because they were so numerous and couldn’t be shooed out. ????
At least it wasn’t barn swallows. I had a nest on my front porch last spring and could not use my front door without getting attacked. We had people attacked just walking down the street. We could not remove the nest because babies, and the DNR frowns upon disturbing the nest.
Gaëlle from France says
Ooooooooh poor, poor birds…
Michelle M says
Birds tried to build a nest in a room that has a cat as a regular occupant? Not sure if the birds are very brave or the cat is just lazy or can’t be bothered to go after what would be considered it’s natural prey. Maybe the cat and birds were on different schedules and the bird very discreet, because you and your husband did not see them either and it looks like they had gotten very comfortable.
Actually, while cats do like to dream of catching birds, birds can fly and cats cannot, so it’s rare that a cat will actually catch a bird. They can and do catch the ones who are too sick to fly when a cat approaches, and they catch the baby birds who are learning to fly, but only if the adult parent birds aren’t watching. I have bird feeders with dozens of birds on them while my neighbor’s cat sits under the feeders and dreams of a bird falling for it.
Louise A says
Well, my dog had mocking birds dive bomb her, She waited her time and leaped up and snarfed one out of the air. The rest of them fussed at her from the safety to the fence.
My friend’s cat caught so many birds that she put on a collar with bells on it. The cat would then sit on the fence and leap at the birds as they flew by. He still caught some – just not as many
My cat figured out how to walk/stalk without maki by the bells jingle!! Determined cats find a way!!
I once saw my cat jump 4 ft in the air and catch a bird mid-flight. Also, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve come home to dead birds on my stoop. Our cats were excellent bird hunters much to our chagrin.
Sorry we had a cat, named Max he could prove you wrong. Every day my mom had to release a bird, he somehow got into the house, though a window. He was a very excellent bird catcher. Funny thing he only messed up their feathers, didn’t hurt them, they could still fly and unhurt. Really do think he was trying to get mom to give him the Canary we had in a cage…he’d bring in a bird yell until his catch was seen, then run to the Canary cage. Mom would get the new bird and toss it out side it would coast to a fence straight it’s feathers and fly away. Max would glare at mom and then go take a nap.
We had an old grain bin that the top and fallen off of and a colony of pigeons (not sure that’s the right terminology, but there were A LOT) had moved into it. Our outside cat caused a pigeon genocide. They could have flown away, but he eventually got them all. Surprisingly, he never bothered the chickens, but maybe the rooster deterred him. ????????????????????
OK, I sit corrected. I never would put a bird feeder near a fence a cat could climb on, and from what I just read, that’s a way cats can and do catch birds in flight. Cats on the ground rarely catch a bird on the ground because the birds fly away. I never had a fence for cats to sit on to catch birds. I did have one catch a bird that crawled under my car to get something under it.
Elizabeth Charlton says
I wish that were true. My cat is quite adept at capturing birds.
Ute Vilfroy says
It is actually amazing how quickly birds can build up a nest. If materials are hany it can happen in a few hours. I have a mourning dove that visits my front porch evert Spring, and we have to be super vigilant.
Mary Peed says
Yeah. My cats are excellent hunters and bring the stupid human birds fairly often. I bell them but they have figured out ways around that. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits… We quit feeding song birds, my cats treated the feeders as all-you-can-eat buffets. Crows seem to be beyond my cats, we still feed them.
Years ago, I neglected to take down the Christmas wreaths from my double front doors in a timely manner. Imagine my surprise when I come home from work one afternoon and a bird flew at me as I approach my door. I thought it strange and went about my way. The second time it happened, I started investigating and found a nest in one of the wreaths. It did have eggs in it so I had to be very careful going in and out of the house until the birds had fledged. Needless to say, I always took down my wreaths on January 7 thereafter.
That picture scared me. I thought it was some bug infestation that could only be handled by setting your office on fire…
Bliss Crimson the Mooncatx says
But baby skunks are hella cute!
Skunks make wonderful pets
I beg to differ. My sister actually had a pet skunk. It was not a wonderful pet. The odors alone were enough to make you want to scream despite it being unable to spray after surgery. My sister got married and moved out, but the landlord refused the skunk, and my parents’ house smelled horrible until one of us found a farm where they said we could put the skunk in the barn and they’d feed it and keep it and it finally went away. It wasn’t even a fun pet to pet, and nothing about it was appealing.
All moot points now, because in Ohio, it’s illegal to catch a skunk and have surgery done to stop the spraying and keep it as a pet. Good plan.
Every morning for the past year, cranky butt, the poodle, dances her paws in anticipation of hearing those fateful words, “Let’s go to work!” If she hears that, she kills her squeaky bunny in joy and deposits it in the place of honor on her throne, aka, her heated bed. From there she can supervise every move I make and even join me in video calls.
Sarah P says
We had a mom, dad, and 5 baby skunks hanging out in a broken down gazebo in our backyard – goodbye gazebo!
Good luck in the Austin market. I moved to Denver 12 years ago and would never be able to move here as a young person now, it’s kinda sad.
I fight with house sparrows every year. I allow them nesting areas at the front and side door but not the entry to the pool area. Every year I have to knock down 10 started nest. It kills me the build on the side of bricks.
Sending good vibes on the house hunt.
Mary Beth says
We lost our third grill to an enormous wren nest. My Hubby is a big man, but he’s a total softie. He couldn’t dump the nest out with four babies in it. (I wouldn’t do it either.) So we waited til they were fledged to clear it out.
He told me we could clean it well enough and I said no. When the babies were grown and gone, he took one look inside and said “This grill can not be saved.” Now he makes sure he puts the grill in the garage for winter instead of leaving it outside.
We have a separate living space we don’t use and want to move since our house layout with the separate space doesn’t fit us well and think our house will sell well. But the issue is still where can we go. All the houses are being snapped up so fast we are scared we can’t get a house in our money range.
Sorry to hear you’re having trouble still!!
We found a baby rattle snake once in the back of a bedroom closet on the family ranch in Arizona. It was super traumatizing. May you never have this type of surprise.
My mother-in-law lived in Albuquerque and now lives in Tucson…..we have to watch for desert critters in the house…..not fun…
Thankfully they were still in the building process and hadn’t laid eggs yet! ????
Patricia Schlorke says
Smart birds. 🙂
I had a scorpion in my bathroom (it was in the master bedroom) when I lived in Oklahoma. Don’t know how it came inside. When I went in, I didn’t see anything. The next moment, I see this creature coming out from behind the door. Made me jump. I grabbed a towel, and put the scorpion outside. It tried to sting me, but the towel was thick and nothing happened.
When I lived in Missouri, my parents had a half an acre of backyard near a creek, and I would see cotton mouth snakes, a snapping turtle, and deer. I saw the snake skin laying on a tree branch like it was lace. Two times field mice came into the house. I had cats, and they thought the mouse was a play toy. When the mouse died, there were no scratches or teeth marks on the mouse. My cats were disappointed that their play toy died, and meowed at me to do something about it. 😀
Your life is always an adventure. I love being able to watch from a safe distance. **snicker**
We have miniature horses and the barn for them is miniature to match. We had a titmouse build a nest in there last summer, and feeding the horses was real fun for a few days until that bird realized nobody wanted to bother the nest and stopped trying to drive us out. For years, we had robins nesting on our balcony light. When we pulled that nest down one autumn to paint the balcony, it never got rebuilt. No loss, because the white bird droppings were quite disgusting right outside the door where the nest was.
When I had chemotherapy last summer, all my hair fell out. I gathered up as much of it as I could and I will put it out when the time comes for the birds to use in their nests. They kindly gather it up when I brush the shedding horses, so I’m going to see if they want my hair. It gives me a kick to imagine my hair that used to keep my head warm keeping baby birds in a soft nest warm.
I have a German Shepard who makes so much hair during her biannual shed you would be able to cover a 2nd dog. We have to brush her out twice a day to prevent a hair carpet. I insist on outside and then cleaning up the hair. My kids always try to get out of bagging up the hair, trying to claim that the birds will use it in their nests, which I dispute every time and force them to pick up the hair. Unfortunately for me, last year I was in my yard and found a bird nest with dog hair laced thru it. I had to eat my words. It was pretty cool though. Good luck with the nests. Hope you’re doing ok.
How is it fair that Tuna is mentioned and you don’t even pay the cat tax?
Seriously though, Tuna is adorable and I love pictures of her.
Moderator R says
Hello fellow Tuna fan!
Have you seen the Tuna show during the last Q&A? Minutes 33 and 1:02 hours ???? https://ilona-andrews.com/2021/answers-to-blood-heir-burning-questions/
Omg the moderator actually replied to me lol. Yes! I’ve watched the Tuna show and forever became her Stan!
Judy Schultheis says
I’m glad the nest was empty. I, too, hope you don’t get any baby skunks. Or anything else trying to move into your workspace to bring up this year’s family.
Oh yes, those sparrows will move in anywhere. Hope for bluebirds, get sparrows. It never fails. The only birds I have seen tough enough to compete with sparrows for a nesting site are chickadees. We’ve had swallows, phoebes, and sparrows all move into barns, house eaves, the inner edge of covered porches, and hanging plants. So far none have made it into the house.OK, once we had a downy woodpecker in the house, but that was a bird that had knocked it self out on a glass door. She made a full recovery. In fact we later spotted her pulling the plastic flowers out of a hummingbird feeder to get at the nectar more conveniently. We didn’t begrudge it to her. That was a pretty smart bird.
Swallows. The worst. They returned every year to the vestibule outside my front door. Mud everywhere. Poop everywhere. Swallows swooping down on you. And they’re protected. If there are eggs in the nest, you can’t knock them down, so you have to hose them down early.
Sneaky birdies. When I saw the nesting material my first thought was rats ????????
Glad you caught it before there were eggs or babies. Sparrows are jerks.
My first exterior-facing apartment door used to blow open if I didn’t set the deadbolt and it was windy or sometimes I think if the neighbors came down the stairs too enthusiastically. Since there was no way to set the deadbolt from outside, this meant that sometimes I came home to find my home completely open to the world. It’s not like I owned anything worth stealing – the only thing that came close was my laptop, which was pretty much always within arm’s reach – but this was always freaky for a single woman living alone. But even scarier were the times that I was home and forgot to set the deadbolt, generally in the middle of the night, and the door would blow open. One time, the door blew open, which woke me up, and then the wind knocked two pictures off the wall beside the couch, and they sounded an awful lot like someone tripping over the corner of the couch in the dark (queue heart attack). Another time, the door blew open just a few millimeters during a blizzard and I woke up to find a snowdrift through my living room.
I learned my lesson, lock the deadbolt when you walk inside… and promptly started deadbolting my parents out of their home every time I visited.
I was recently in the ghost town of Terlingua, the old Saint Agnes Catholic Church aka Chisos Mission is still occasionally used for an odd service. Otherwise it’s just a tourist destination. There’s two nests that have been built where wall and ceiling meet towards the altar area. The birds are very vocal when you’re in THEIR space. Cheeky little buggers.
Sparrows are SO rude. They nest in the damn ivy outside my bedroom window and wake me up at 6:30 every morning making noises identical to those of a vintage Space Invaders game, but louder and more annoying. No matter how many times a day I sweep my step and path, the next time I go out there is more bird mess – not just the expected, but chunks of moss, gunk from the gutters, and random bits of mouldy food (bread, fruit peel) that my dog will inevitably snarfle down and then have to go to the vet’s over. And when they have babies, they dive bomb anyone who tries to enter the garden, which means I have to take the dog out the front to pee. Sparrows are the pits.
Mice are worse, though. Thank heavens it wasn’t mice in the light.
We share our house with a regular menagerie. Bats just outside the front door under the eaves, wrens, bluebirds and chickadees in the boxes (and any crevices they can find) on the deck, flying squirrels in the attic crawl space (when the raccoons and grey squirrels don’t chase them out). As well as toads, the occasional snake and chipmunks in the garage. Every last one has accidentally found it’s way into the main house at one time or another. We keep those little nets you can get your kids hanging in a couple of rooms for when we need to escort a visitor out. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. ????????????
When I moved into my townhouse I put a large wreath on the front door, but hadn’t installed a screen door. My extracurricular activity that year was slo-pitch and on game days I was gone from 7am until 8 pm. I came home to find a nest and eggs in the wreath. I used the garage door for 6 weeks. But it was 6vweeks of entertainment for my indoor cats!
Lynn Thompson says
Bwah ha ha ha. Thank you, Ilona Andrews, for the post. Sorry about housing market issues though.
My problem is the dog door to the fenced in front yard. If the dog isn’t “rescuing “ something, it’s the cat bringing in prey for cat sick-o -chase game.
I used to come home from work to find a feather or fur trail from dog door to bathroom and a carcass in bath tub. The present cat has worked up to crow trophy. The crows have figured out the present dog capriolles at 7 foot height. Yes they learned that the hard way. The bunny rabbit carcass I found after replacing floor vent covers and suddenly house had a rotten odor in that room. I had hysterics when I came home to find them playing “herd” with a snake in my bedroom. But that is what happens when you live with thick skulled predators sometimes.
A squirrel came into our house via the chimney. Managed to pop the glass Doors on the fireplace open, then panicked trying to get out. He ran into the slider door kept going to closed windows as we were trying to run around and open up all the doors to get him out. We were lucky he didn’t go upstairs. The funny thing is my husband couldn’t figure out how he got into the chimney as we have a cap thing on it.
We have had hawks eat lunch in our yard before. Seen possums and raccoons in the neighborhood. This always surprises me as we live in suburbia on small lots.
Patti in Ohio says
We lived in an old farmhouse with a fieldstone foundation /cellar. Somehow, a full-size duck got into it, even though we never left outside doors open and the windows were glass block. Luckily there was an outside door opposite the door to the basement – we opened both doors and I and one of our kids held up blankets on either side to keep the duck from flying into the rest of the house while my brave husband went into the basement and chased the duck until it flew up the stairs and out. The only thing we could figure was that it somehow flew down the chimney stack, which we thought was blocked. We had a chimney cap put on it shortly thereafter and have since moved.
Ellen D says
The critters always find a way. We live on 5 acres and are surrounded by a 100 more all heavily wooded. Following a girls weekend with my aunt and cousins I was working in my office in the polebarn. Had that itch you get when you know someone’s watching. I started looking around thinking one of my hens had wandered in. Spotted a little red fox kit peeking from around a file cabinet. Glanced over to see the window was indeed shut. I’d been gone 3 days decided water and food was needed before I let it out shut the door behind me and headed up to the house. On the way back I spotted mom crouched in the trees watching me. Her head going from me to that door. Set the bowls down close to the cabinet, left the door open and sat down. Turned out it was two kits not one. They cleaned up both bowls and then high tailed it out to mom who by that time had moved to the azaleas just a few feet away. My husband told me he had been in there 2 days earlier and is our habit had left the door open going in and out. When he remembered it was open it was dark. That was 20 years ago and he still checks the office before shutting the door.
I occasionally find snakes in the basement, fortunately they are garter snakes and since it’s cold down there they don’t generally move so i can step around them and then i call hubby to come take them outside. he’s also good with the mice, altho after we got the electronic plug in deterrents down there we haven’t seen them, and it’s been about 4 years.
Grace Draven says
At least your squatters are nice. I always find dead scorpions in my lights.
Kelly M says
We battled chimney swifts one year. We did not realize the chimney cap had been dislodged by a storm. The swifts were thrilled and moved in unbeknownst to us. The hatchlings are noisy little critters when getting ready to fledge and they are hungry. We made sure to close the flue to keep them out of the house, but that was an expensive year as we need a chimney cleaning to dislodge the nest once they were gone and a new cap had to be mortarted in.
Last year my Mom had a pair of Quails nesting in between the lavender and rosemary in her planter box on the patio. Twelve little babies had to jump the two feet from the planter after they hatched and the whole ordeal was stressful and hilarious at the same time. She also has to monitor a couple of places around her condo like the gutter connections and atop the electrical cabinet because the Doves really like it for nesting and they make an awful mess. There are also hummingbirds galore who love her patio which is such a gift, I’m always entertained by their antics, they’re so territorial!
When I was in college at UCSC skunks were everywhere because of the underground springs, at night you could smell their stink along with the roasting coffee wafting through the downtown neighborhoods.
I heard the Bay Area Housing Crisis has been directly involved in the Austin Housing Crisis- all those tech companies are moving out and making their home in Austin, hence the huge migration of workers/employees.
In other news, we have more rental units opening up and prices slooooowly trickling down. That’s not to say they won’t try the bait-and-switch tactic many were famous for here.
Have you thought about investing in mobile homes? 2 friends are investing in new homes, one in Wine Country and one in Silicon Valley, which have turned out to be beautiful structures in great, clean, safe neighborhoods (the nicer mobile parks, at least), huge yards, washer/dryer in unit, 1200+ sq feet.
Patricia Schlorke says
The problem with mobile homes or manufactured homes is the tornado season (sometimes seasons) in Texas and in the area called tornado alley. You would need to put in a tornado shelter or live near a sturdier shelter to stay safe.
Now if they weren’t in tornado alley, then ok. ????
Barbara Kay Swanson says
oh yes, the cat co-worker. Essential workers, they are. Yes, indeed.
Country girl says
I live in on a couple cleared acres around the house, 100s of forest acres around us, on a dirt road, on the top of a mountain in BFNW, NY.. We have every kind of wildlife imaginable. The Robin’s nesting on the firewood on the wood porch, garter snakes in the wood pile in the back yard – we burned out the copperheads from the rock wall- mice in the basement (I commit genocide every winter. Dcon enclosed traps are the bestest! I hate those meeces to peeces!! ) the bees’ and wasps’ nests under the siding. The woodchucks who dont make it thru gardening season. Coyotes on the ridge, deer in the yard, the hawks who give my two 10lb puppies the stink eye, the bear who sits on our garbage shed cause he can’t get in it, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, fisher cats, the occasional snapping turtle from the pond, everyone stops by from time to time. Sad to say the bat population has been decimated by disease…
Suzette M. says
The birds that fly around JFK airport in the wee hours of the morning while you wait for your 5:30am flight are annoying af. Cute at any other time. That time? No.
Maria Z says
Something was living in my garage last Tuesday and Wednesday. I found some big poop and each morning stuff knocked off shelves and it looks as if it was doing some digging in one corner next to the garage door. I left the garage door open a crack before I left on day one hoping it would leave, however it wanted a two day stay.
Susan Reynolds says
Maria Z says
I thought raccoon, or possum, or cat, but the poop was too big for cat.
We had a baby skunk in the egress window well shortly after we bought our house. We had a duck and her ducklings in our garage once too.
Mary Peed says
My cats bring in the birds. Also half dead baby rabbits. Sometimes mice. The only bird that has built a nest in my house was a parrot, inherited from my grandmother. She’s (the bird) has been dead two years now… And we’re still finding little piles of shredded cardboard and feathers in unexpected places. I miss that damned bird.
“Literally, if you are buying a house in Austin right now. Grrr.”
So much yes. I’ve been house hunting in Austin for about two months and watching in horror. Its enough to make me contemplate moving to another city, although I love Austin and wouldn’t even be thinking about leaving if it wasn’t for me being tired of apartment living.
Oh no, on the birds! I had some barn swallows that lived on my balcony, dutifully coming back year after year to have another nest-full of babies, until the apartment decided every balcony needed a fresh coat of paint and knocked their next down. Haven’t seen them since. 🙁
Lol! In my life it’s red wasps that like to find any damned chink in the grout of the stonework and set up housekeeping. Although I did have a bird nest in the wall outside my bedroom one year. Sigh. I left the hole until I was sure the babies had all fledged. At least the wasps have moved me to start repairing the old grout.
I took my puppy out one night and saw the cutest little skunk in the next yard. It spied us and galloped toward us like we were his missing mama. I snatched up my puppy and ran but I felt sort of guilty. Poor little lost baby. Made me think of Pepe LaPew, though.
Kari S. says
Years ago I lived in a mobile home and fed feral cats. No longer! I learned my lesson, partly because cat food was also popular with the local raccoons and possums. One year most of a litter of presumably orphaned baby possums were found dead outside; the murderer was clearly a raccoon trying to eliminate the competition. There were five little corpses. The remaining three babies decided to move in with me! It took us a month to figure out how they’d gotten in. I kept catching or trapping them (repeatedly; they are not bright or particularly cute even as babies about the size of a rat). I would put them out and the next thing I knew they were back in. It was annoying but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor little orphans.
The most remarkable thing about this interlude was the behavior of my cats. After a great deal of initial curiosity from my youngest cats, they seemed to accept them as fellow inhabitants rather than prey. Several of these cats had been feral cats or kittens when joining the household, but that didn’t matter. I will never forget the time I was putting down food and turned to see several cats and a baby possum waiting for me to put the food dishes down. They moved behind the couch as a group since the cats (being feral) and the possums didn’t trust me completely and didn’t pounce upon the food until I was safely away.
After a month we finally found the entrance they were using and blocked it off. Hopefully that month of safety helped them grow enough to defend themselves a little better. Then I had to do a lot of housecleaning, because the possums didn’t ever learn to use a cat box!
Maria Z says
I have been feeding stray cats on my front porch for several years (10+). I never had raccoons until last year.
When I had bird feeders out front I also had many, many skulls feeding on what fell to the ground at night. I stopped feeding the birds.
Beth Leffler says
To paraphrase from Redwall “Murderin’ sparrahs!” lol! As an ardent birdwatcher, I can vouch for the fact that they have no conscience and no shame. All is fair in protecting personal space…
When I want to redirect persistent nesting birds from my porch, I put rubber snakes up to deter them. Birds do not like snakes near their nests, since snakes are notorious for eating their eggs and hatchlings. Some more determined birds try to drive the fake snakes off by dive bombing them, but the birds eventually give up and fly off to seek ‘safer’ homes.
Every year in the spring, some birds would try to build a nest in our mailbox at my family’s old house. We didn’t have the stereotypical American mailbox with the flag at the end of the property. Ours was right next to our front door attached to the house itself (which was handy when the weather was terrible out, only had to stick my arm and hand out and grab it) and was essentially a rectangular black metal box with a lid on it that didn’t close well. There was always one week out of the year whenever I reached down into the box to fish out the mail, my hand would also grab random twigs and leaves. They were such a pain to get out because the mailbox was deep and the birds would dump a lot in there, I could spend a good 10 minutes getting all the twigs and leaves debris out. It was amusing but at the same time I kept wondering what the birds thought the random pieces of paper were showing up in their “nest” every day (ie the mail).
Rhianon Pamment says
I live in central Australia (the Outback) and our idea of squatters are snakes, scorpions, centipedes and huntsman’s. Seriously if you leave the door open for longer then five minutes, that night you will find creepy crawlies everywhere, like when you go to bed and look up at the ceiling and there’s a huntsman looking at you. At the moment I have a sand goanna in my roof but I like them because they eat all the mice.
Kelly M says
I remember when birds built a nest in our front door wreath (which was odd, because winter?) – we had to use the garage entrance exclusively for months because every time anyone opened the front door the poor confused birds would flap, terrified, around the house until we managed to wrangle them back outside. We would have been much less accommodating had they built their nest INSIDE the house!
Wenonah Lyon says
You’re in Austin! I went to UT (BA, MA, PhD in anthropology, plus a one year course in special ed for the hearing impaired). It’s like a lotus land. People fall in love with it and don’t leave. Great music, at least from the TV I watch here in the UK, is still coming out of Austin. Or at least showing up to play there. Regarding the skunk: One of my fave quotes about the civil rights marches comes from a black minister in SF – he’s also head of the local NAACP chapter: Don’t march. Stay home, write letters, telephone people, contact your Sen. and House Rep. Never get in a fight with a skunk.
Lara S. says
The little birds, chickadees or wrens? Best in my husbands truck bed area in the little holes in the bed sides. We ended up having to put chunks of wood in the holes to prevent them doing it. He only uses the truck every few weeks so they thought it was available for move in! We also get rabbits and skunks and such burrowing under our shed. They only use it as a temporary escape from the dog though. Ahh suburban wildlife.
Sydney Girl says
I too live in Australia, and yes, snakes, spiders, mice and other asorted creepy crawlies love our houses.
My cousin lived in Townsville when he was doing his residency. He got up one night to get a drink of water and got bitten by a brown snake (quite venomous).
Being the laid back country lad he is, he promptly killed the snake, grabbed his keys and wallet, drove to the hospital and was treated all in about a 1/2 hour.
Turns out the snake was attracted to the plague of mice they had been having, and was keeping their house mouse free. LOL
Kat Kimbriel says
Glad that there were no eggs so no guilt about removing that industrious nest. I have had barn swallows take over my deck, and doves insist that the front courtyard was theirs.
I still have no idea how a tiny tree toad got into my upstairs bathroom. I was able to scoop him up with a jar and evict him into my back yard, but all I can think is I lay down the clean towels on the couch for a moment before taking upstairs.
So how did he get into the living room?
I still suspect he teleported and might be Goro (?) the frog god from P. C. Hodgell’s GODSTALK.
haha…what a hoot! I used to keep my door open to let in the sunshine and fresh air. That stopped when Mr. Possum paid a visit. After 2 visits by bats, the windows are now shut unless the screen does not have a cat made hole. Happy Spring!