Our birdfeeders hang over the upper deck railing so seeds often drop to the ground below. We bring the feeders into the garage at night so as not to tempt the bears and raccoons to climb up for a snack. The other evening my husband called me out to see some visitors.
They were not really visitors since they reside nearby, but there were three unwelcome striped skunks gleaning the fallen seeds below the deck. "Polecat," is the southern way of naming these little critters. (I did not know until I started school that other people called them skunks.) We occasionally catch a whiff of their scent when we are hiking in the forests and our neighbor's dog was sprayed not too long ago, the wind carrying the scent over toward us. (We keep a skunk-cleaning emergency kit equipped and at the ready but fortunately we have not had to use it.)
The three skunks were obviously a family but all three had very distinct patterns of black and white. I was quite surprised at the variation. I took the photographs from the deck so the camera is aimed directly at the tops of the skunks. And no, I did not once think of sneaking outside and around the house to get you better photographs!
The stinky trio
Gobbling up the fallen seeds
I'd rather have three little birds on my doorstep than three little skunks below my deck
At least twice a week my husband takes a leaf blower and blows the leftover seeds deeper into the woods. This keeps down the number of little critters coming near. I really don't want them to decide our house might be a good place to hunker down for the winter. There are much better places for them in the woods.
And so we try to leave with peace among these animals. After all, it is we who invaded their territory.