The problem with feeding birds in your garden is that you can't always choose who gets the tasty morsels. I've had problems in the past with Rats, normally when the landfill was operating near Dinnington but recently things have been clear with only Mice present below the shed and the occasional visit from a Mole or Hedgehog. I noticed that Rabbits have been making merry in my front garden from the myriad of footprints in the snow but was a little more concerned when a rat sized hole appeared in the drift under the Niger feeder. Air Rifle was placed at the ready as the clear nights with a white background make despatching the hapless rodents easy and without fear of mis-identification. I remember a few years back being all ready to fire when the supposed rat curled up into a ball and was clearly a hedgehog. Now frankly I'd rather not kill anything however my neighbours are more civilised than myself and the need to deal with any infestation before it gets out of hand and they reep the benefits is paramount.
So this morning as I opened the door to put some more fat flavoured bread balls out I was disturbed to see what I thought was a rat, disapppear behind the coal bunker although it was unusual in that it sprinted over the top. I put said morels out and retired to the kitchen as birds descended to feed. After five minutes they all flew up into the tree and I assumed the prescence of the Woodpecker had disturbed them but then a familiar head appeared in the hole just like the daft mallet game you play in the fair. Up and down it went till eventually either bravery or hunger took hold and it, a Weasel, dashed out to nick some food returning to its burrow to eat it.
I watched for a number of minutes as it made sorties around the garden and it had clearly a well established 'rat run' below the snow. Now the question is ............is it vermin? I for one wouldn't harm a hair on it but I guess it could feasibly take one of the birds I'm spending time and money to keep alive. Anyway whilst I considered the merits of said creature it did its best to look the picture of innocence although I suspect it was eyeing up a Starling in the conifer tree!
Whilst writing this there is scuffling from above and being the sole inhabitant of this slum I suspect there are mice in the loft again. Oh the benefits of living on the urban fringe or is that just being on the edge?