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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

The Food Chain Begins Here

Bobcat ~ NH ~  Mj Pettengill
Bobcat ~ NH ~ Mj Pettengill
It’s true. I cater to squirrels.

So many folks invest time and money in squirrel-proof bird feeders. I have had my share of them. It’s more than the feeder itself; hanging it in a strategic location with the exact amount of wire and placed within a certain distance from a branch, etc., is necessary.

Usually, it’s only a matter of minutes before you catch a glimpse of a red or gray squirrel hanging upside down, swinging like the finest trapeze artist in the land. The seeds fly out, landing on the ground for the others that wait patiently.

I used to toss nuts out specifically for the squirrels, carefully providing nutrition for all. Of course, this has its challenges since it is impossible to express a specifically designated menu to the patrons of the Café.

Although snuggled in for the season, the chipmunks are also a significant part of the community. Their cheeks are packed from morning until sunset as they dash from here to there, collecting their stash.

In time, I decided to offer food to my neighbors in a way that they could forage. This has been very successful. I have a feeder strategically hanging high that holds suet and a small compartment for seed, a simple feeder on the window, and a trough that has been a favorite for all.

I’ve been concerned about the lone turkey that comes to feed. The neighborhood has a good-sized flock, but this one bird is in exile. I hope that she is safe. I would invite her in if I permitted my inner child to remain at the helm. We know that’s beyond logic. Still, I worry, and I have yet to see her today.

I try to release worries about things I cannot control. I hope for the best. I trust that the outcome is intended. If it is good, I give thanks. If it is unfavorable, I am grateful for the lessons. If it is neither, I carry on with trust.

With the recent drastic shift in the landscape, the population of wild neighbors in my space is on the rise. My health and wellness are in unison with my connection and awareness of my place in this sacred space. The change in the water and land has driven the inhabitants from their homes. Many visitors frequent this environmentally friendly and pristine area. However, it has changed. It is now more like a busy rest stop here.

Yesterday, I noticed that one of my frequent guests at the Café—a gray squirrel I call Buttons—has a respectable scar on his back. I saw that with Ruby the Red a few years ago. They are warriors; they escaped; they were lucky.

I am unaware of the predator that almost caught Ruby. However, when I prepared to tend to the feeding station today, I was taken aback at seeing a majestic bobcat sitting near the trough.

Kaya Kitty ~ Mj Pettengill
Kaya Kitty ~ Mj Pettengill

When I stopped at the window, we locked eyes. The feral feline appeared content, simply waiting for a tasty morsel. After all, I created a nice food chain in my backyard.

I quickly glanced at Kaya, my gray tiger kitty, and reminded myself that her house cat status was the right decision.

The bobcat stayed there for a long time, maybe an hour or more. I was hoping it would leave so the others could visit the area and stock up on protein before the plunging temps toss us into a deep freeze.

The bottom line is gratitude. To observe such strength and beauty is a gift. It’s one of those situations where you want the best for opposing positions. I hope the rodents and birds are not in harm’s way, yet it would be great for the bobcat to have a tasty treat.

Yes, we are nature—not separate. Reclaim your wildness, and own your intended state. Be there for those who walk on the wild side and find themselves at your window, but know your place.

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