[NAFEX] Fruit>squirrels>cats> bird predation

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Thu Feb 15 23:49:13 EST 2007

Cats may take their toll, but the humans are doing more than their fair 
share.   What's really reduced the quail population in Tennessee is fescue, 
they say that it's so thick that baby quail can't move around in it.  The 
other thing, that really gets me, is the damned weedeaters.  People move out 
in the country and try to make their entire yard look like a carpet, 
including cutting all grass and weeds right up to the road.  They have nice 
smooth expanses which would be convenient for watching wildlife, if only 
there were any wildlife left to watch.  Sure, deer and rabbits eat grass, 
but quail need bugs and weed/grass SEEDS, which aren't produced when 
everything is kept 2" high.
    Another thing that gets me is the horse population.  Used to be that 
horse lovers would have one horse.  Now they have 4 of them, in the same 
space.   The horses not only eat everything down to the ground, but they are 
dependent on lots of hay and grain.  I hardly ever see anyone actually ride 
one of the creatures.
    If you stop and think about it, most NAFEXers increase species 
diversity.  Certainly compared to the average American lawn, we create more 
green stuff at different heights, creating both cover and food.  At our 
place, the soil was so terrible in the cleared area that few species of 
weeds would grow.  Now the soil is better over an acre or so, and we have 
provided a great deal of food to the voles, flying squirrels( they like 
tomatoes), chicken snakes (they like eggs) hawks and owls (they like 
chickens), cardinals (they like chicken feed, and peas pecked fresh from the 
pods) and a multitude of birds that like blueberries.  A bit of controlled 
predation is not a bad thing, especially as so many wild predators are gone. 
The real enemy for birds is loss of  food and habitat.  I remember someone 
years ago commenting that after bug zappers became a fad, they heard and saw 
far fewer birds.    Donna 

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