I can watch the bird feeder from my gunroom window.

All day they flit to and fro from that feeder. The squirrels come leaping up to grab the pole and try to climb it. Usually, they fail and have to climb up the big pine tree that towers overhead providing shelter and protection to the feeder.

Then they arial acrobat down the tree branch and swing on the bird feeder, stuffing in all the peanuts and other goodies they can find. I’m sure you see it every day, too. In the evening the deer come to visit this feeder and they will knock it around spilling out the contents to munch on happily.

Such is my winter entertainment. But yesterday I saw an unusual thing by the feeder. It was a young red fox. I’m pretty sure it was looking for mice or birds and didn’t have a clue I was watching it. It made me think of a day last summer when we were all sitting around when suddenly someone heard a strange sound. I made the kids describe it for me. My daughter said it was a bird of some strange kind. My grandson who was here that day said no it was a cat. Well, I don’t hear very well so I couldn’t decide what it was and sent them out to look. My daughter went on one side of an opening of a clearing and her son went to the other. There they were, two red foxes playing and leaping around making a racket. They were obviously courting, and screeching was part of their romantic evening. I’m guessing junior fox here in my feeder was the product of that courtship. The kids watched the foxes for a time then came to give me a full report. Now my daughter says she knows a fox call when she hears it. I guess it sounds like a weird cat bird.

The wild birds in my feeder get about 10 percent of their food here every morning. Its amazing how much they eat. At my home, we get a lot of woodpeckers of all shapes and sizes. Downy, Pileated and Hairy feed here. Yesterday, I also saw the Great Pileated Woodpecker and he was really making that feeder swing. By the time my daughter gets home from work, it will be almost empty from the invasion of hungry critters here today. I wonder when the gray squirrels will disappear for, they do hibernate or, so I am told.

I like to count the deer around my house, so the feeder does attract them for me. Sometimes, you can identify something about a doe or a buck and then watch for it again. You get a feel for what’s in your area. When I lived in Eighty-Four, I always kept an eye on the deer population there in the same manner. I could scout my own wooded area and see those same deer during the year.

My friend, Mike Weber, called to tell me he had caught two coyotes by his house. They were running on a trail, and he set out some traps. He lives in Scenery Hill and says they are plentiful there. I have never seen a coyote here but have heard of them just down the road on Country Club Road. A friend of ours has some chickens there and claims they had a small run in with a coyote, who came for some chicken dinner. The chickens kept disappearing and they kept trying to catch that thieving coyote, having seen it once. All manner of wire and wood could not keep out Mr. Tricky Coyote and they ended up moving the coop closer to the house. I haven’t heard if this worked. There are some 100,000 coyotes estimated to live in Pennsylvania now. A good way to know if one has moved into your neighborhood is the cat population goes down as coyotes love to eat cats. I keep expecting to see one out there by the feeder some day but have not seen one yet.

The snow falls all around us, but nature continues to amaze and entertain me. I hope it is entertaining you this season in your own Pennsylvania backyard zoo.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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