HUNTERS AND HUNTED – Marilyn Armstrong

We live in the Blackstone Valley. During our 18 years here, more and more predatory animals have moved into the region.

A relaunch to the feeder from the rail

We used to have rabbits and chipmunks and other small mammals. I remember when the chipmunks used to line up and chatter at us.

Meanwhile, we have gotten bobcats and many more coyotes. Many hawks and eagles (American eagles, mostly, but also Cooper’s and Red-tailed hawks and many others … and Fishers … and bear tracks have been found all over the area and I don’t think they have been hibernating this winter, either.

Tufted Titmouse

I have not seen a rabbit or a chipmunk in years. We saw bobcat tracks after the recent snow, so we know they are in the area again … and the coyote never leave. The fisherS are part now a regular part of our wildlife. A few days ago, a Cooper’s Hawk glided past the deck and the feeders and the birds fled.

The squirrels hid under the metal table on the deck.

I think they feel safer on my deck than they do in the woods. Many of them show a lot of scarring from encounters with hawks.

Two Red House Finches

For several days, the feeders were empty. Today, they’ve started to come back, a few at a time. The Cardinal was back, some nuthatches and finches. They are easily frightened by the hunters.

Oh yeah? What are you gonna do about it?

We seem to have a massive number of hunters and a serious lack of prey.

I’m sure the increasing urbanization in other areas of New England is forcing wildlife towards this region which remains relatively rural and wooded … but there isn’t nearly enough food for all of them.

How did we get heavy with predators and light in prey? Usually, the small mammals outbreed the predators which maintains the balance, but that has not been happening.

Squabbling Juncos

And is there anything we can do to balance things?

I can’t think of any answers. This has happened mostly during the past 10 years, but with the upsurge of the coyote population and the roaming bobcats, it has gotten worse. With the weather warming up, the bears will become more lively, too.

It’s going to become very interesting around these parts!

Categories: birds, Blackstone Valley, Nature, Photography, Squirrel, Wildlife

Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Yep, we have seen the same changes up here in Northern Worcester County. I am in awe and enthralled with the hawks, eagles, owls. I love the realization that there are coyotes, fishers, bobcats out there. We saw bears last spring (first time in 27 years out here) and want to see more. Interesting changes to our world out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What worries me is that I never see any rabbits or chipmunks anymore. None. We are pushing everything back to whatever “wild” areas remain … but we aren’t such a big space and we aren’t all that wild, either. Woods are good, but not for so MANY hunters. I’m sure it will get resolved. I think we too will be resolved eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Even here in our town we are seeing more and more coyotes roaming our streets. People walking small dogs pick them up and make a lot of noise to scare the coyotes. Some even carry noise makers around their necks to blow on and cause a racket. They come down from the hills above us, seeking food. Now, with the heavy rains we have had, there should be enough water for them, but with all the new construction going on, small rodents probably supply them with a few meals. They can be pretty bold.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Trent says, I think things will balance themselves out naturally, however, I would be careful with any small pets which might be taken for food.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. two thoughts – unless someone is feeding the predators, there is or will be balance. The second is that the little prey animals are naturally almost invisible. When you see a lot of them is when there is a problem. When you don’t see them, they are still there, but hiding.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But the thing is, we used to see them. Not ALL the time, but you’d see a rabbit or a few chipmunks. Now, you never see them. At all. Nature will resolve the problem but I don’t think we will like it. Until we got the feeders, we never saw any squirrels, either. They are a pretty chewed up and ragged lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting and more dangerous!!!! It‘s a heck of a vision you paint here, and I don‘t like the look of it. But we see the same phenomena everywhere. We are well and truly ‚en route‘ to eliminate ourselves. Step by step.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. But.. they feature largely in the legends so they must be here–just not in my area. I’ve even read that the name Mexico meant “Rabbit’s Navel” in an early language…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have never seen a rabbit in Mexico. Perhaps they are all on the other side of the wall???

    Liked by 1 person

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