Thursday, September 30, 2010

Caught! ~ Random Memory #20 ~ Maine

Catching squirrels in the attic, they are then relocated a few miles up the road!
Porcupine in the woods, Brunswick, Maine

This post is inspired by creative commenter, Home Before Dark, and her uneasy relationship with nature in her backyard. I loved her phrase, "Appalled and the night visitors" in the comment section of my previous post.

The abundant wildlife in Maine is stirred into frantic action each spring and autumn. Our depleted feeders light up with the colors of migrating birds, restless skunks perfume the night air and drivers are wary of deer and moose on our country roads. We wake up early to put the trash out so the raccoons will not leave a trail of garbage littered across the dooryard and lawn. Hunters and gatherers are stockpiling food and finding warm nooks and crannies to nest in our attics and basements...and this is where I draw the line. I'm never thrilled by the sight of a rodent inside our house! Peter has caught at least nine squirrels in the attic in his Have a Heart traps and the captives are then transported to a new location. The practice makes everyone feel better, it's humane and, in this way, thousands of rodents crisscross the state to make new friends and babies while improving the gene pool.  We are considerably more ruthless with the staggering number of mice. Nor am I fond of porcupines that strip bark killing our beautiful trees, or when they cause our beloved dogs to go to the vet's surgery to remove painful barbed quills. We are a rural state that has not covered its landscape with urban sprawl invading wildlife habitats, but still, we inevitably clash.

Random Memory #20 ~ Maine

Our Dutch friends, Anneke and Eric have arrived at the airport in Bangor, Maine, exhausted after a long series of flights from their home in Spain. It is an early October evening and the daylight is quickly fading as we drive home to my small coastal village. On the way, there is a stretch of road on RT.15 that makes one feel as if you are a million miles away from civilization prompting Eric to ask if there is a lot of wildlife here. "oh yes" I said, "deer, moose, porcupines, raccoons, bald eagles, skunks...." and, as if on cue, a large dark form charged my car. "Bears" I said over the thud of impact. I didn't hit it very hard and the bruised animal loped off into the woods. Later that night a game warden came  out to inspect the car and pulled a small tuft of fur from my shattered headlight. "Yup, that was a bear" he said.

We had a wonderful time with our friends and, all throughout their visit, saw an extraordinary variety of wildlife on Maine's scenic back roads. Eric teased Peter that he must have stationed people  by the side of the roads to release the creatures at strategic moments, but that the timing with the bear had been just a bit off.


  1. So glad that I could a-muse you! We had the state biologist out when we spotted the foxes. He does not recommend the trap/release because it affects the released area's balance. We did nothing and let the foxes entertain us for over a year before they moved on. Now, the moles, voles, gopher situation. I don't know the traps turn the rodents into shish-kabobs. YUCK with that. I did read that one couple (tell me if this sounds like the husband was an engineer) hooked up a hose to their car's exhaust and tried to gas the varmints. They were actually surprised it did not work and just left their garden smelling like a highway. Love the idea of animals on cue for your visitors, but that bear story was scary!

  2. Years ago our son proudly bought his first brand new car with money he had earned himself. A week later, he was driving it home from work just after dark, when a deer ran into the passenger side door leaving its antlers sticking in the bright red door as a trophy. The deer ran off.

  3. It was lovely to see you yesterday, welcome back after your summer in the 'south'.

    What does Peter put in the traps? I can never get a squirrel to go in the Havahart---mine seem to know better?

  4. I'm glad you trap them humanely and find them a new home :)

  5. home before dark (and muse!) ~ I agree with your state biologist, but if we trap the squirrels and let them out in the yard, they'll just come right back in....especially when you have an old house with a thousand entry off to the next town they go! No doubt your moles and voles reappeared when the foxes left.

    Barbara ~ That's an incredible story! Did your son keep the antlers for over the fireplace?

    Dilettante ~ Peter has a lot of success with pine cones and just one in the trap usually does the trick. Great to see you too...and now I am off to see your post!

    Rachel ~ We are more than happy to trap and release the parade of wildlife that marches inside when the weather turns cold!


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