Messin’ with an Ecostructure

Most of you who know me, or who have been along on this blog-ride for a while, will know that I have a fondness for animals.  We live in the woods and have wild critters of many sorts in and around the property.

I’ve told you about saving kitchen scraps for them, and now I get to tell you why I don’t any more.  It was a fine thing…..  it was convenient to have a bowl in the kitchen for the rough leaves, the peelings, and the other trimmings.  I felt so much better about giving them to the furry things rather than the landfill.  A daily trip to toss these gleanings over the fence, and presto! we were able to watch a parade of Michigan’s wildlife.

Then one day, the dog went crazy at the back fence.  When he went out a second time a little bit later, same thing.  Squinting from the confines of the back window, I saw our food  pantry shutting down.  It was a coyote.

I know they’re in the area, and neighbors from just a few doors down have heard them bay at the moon.  We don’t need them within a few feet of our fence, don’t want to invite them near, can’t have them present a danger to our dog or ourselves.

Here’s what I think happened: We fed the deer, and the deer didn’t find or didn’t want some of the things we put out.  Other, smaller animals came along to help themselves to what the deer didn’t want.  And the coyotes came to help themselves to the little animals.  They probably thought it was a coyote buffet.

No more.  I haven’t quite figured out if it’s a  permanent thing that I can’t recycle my kitchen scraps to the wildlife.  Maybe a different time of day would work, so the bits are cleaned up before nightfall.  Maybe a narrower selection of scraps.  Composting doesn’t make any sense as an option, since the scraps would still be out in the yard.  Animals don’t know if food scraps are for them or for the compost heap.

For now I must content myself with feeding the birds.  These are lovely, and reasonably safe from coyotes.  Not likely to draw them any nearer.  I understand a little better the workings of this small ecosystem in which we live, and am happy to try to dial back the clock to where the coyotes were in the distance.

(c) 2018, J. Cools

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