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Marauding Bunnies, Territorial Starlings and Opportunistic Robins

June 13, 2013

Bunnies. Adorably cute almost from day one. Fuzzy little bundles with soft brown, ‘don’t hurt me, I’m cute’ eyes and powder puff tails.  The books and pictures LIE. They are terrors of the newbie gardener and marauders of vegetable beds.

According to the internets, bunnies are not fond of the onion family. They’ll stay away from them cos of the strong smell and taste. In fact, onions are supposed to be poisonous to bunnies. SUUUURE. I have evidence to the contrary. Perhaps its just the bulbs that are poisonous, cos my struggling little onion greens, barely a month old,  have been trimmed back quite obviously by a bunny.

Mid-May to early June appears to be baby starling time. They are many and loud. They are also somewhat pitiful when you catch a look before they are fully fledged, with tufts of feathers just appearing. But, as with bunnies, appearances are deceiving.  Actually they’re not. Its the parents you have to worry about.

There I was, minding my own business, tending the barbecue.  Yes, it  smokes drastically. Yes, it does smell a lot – of meat, potatoes, veggies and hickory.  But in my jungle of a backyard, should that mean that I get subjected to diving fly-bys and raucous shrieking protests from every starling in the neighbourhood?  Just who owns this yard, after all?

I wasn’t going towards their nests which, I admit, are within 10 feet of my barbecue because it is on the edge of my patio. I hadn’t mauled their nesting shrubs, despite MY mate urging me to ‘trim those ugly things down to the ground.’ Nope, just standing around patiently tending my dinner. I should have bought noise-cancelling earbuds.  At least when I was weeding and singing Britney at the top of my lungs I could understand their shrieks of annoyance.

Finally, we come to the peaceful, neighbourly robins.  Last spring when I prepared our herb garden, I was followed about by a pair of robin parents, who happily absconded with bugs, grubs and worms that I turned up as I dug.  This year, I had the wits scared out of me by a pair of robins who kept hopping out from under the shrubs as I tidied the beds.

Obviously they remembered me and instead of shrieking at me per the starlings, they sat and looked expectantly for the buffet to appear.  They sat on the shovel handle, perched on the pitch fork and even waltzed right up to my little weeding fork (and pooped on it no less).  As I diligently dug and forked out a bed of day lilies, mama robin was belly up to the table, scooping up three or four wrigglies to feed her nestling/fledgling (?) who sat non-too-patiently on a shrub across the yard.

All three of these visitors, in pairs, flocks and other multiples – make it fun to own my own yard and do my own yardwork  as much as I can.  Despite cursing under my breath and glaring murderously at bunnies as they trample and munch through my onions (leaving the garlic and fortunately the lone tomato plant thankfully alone), I still love to see them in my yard. I enjoy the birds, once they leave off screeching at my every entrance into MY garden/yard.

But, let’s just be clear. I still can’t stand squirrels and am happy they seem to have been reduced in numbers this spring.

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