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