This article is dedicated to the animals at PGA National. No, I’m not being rude and calling the people names. You’ll see, just read on:
FOR THE BIRDS
I’ve mentioned it a few times but there are still residents who think that the birds will starve without their help….they won’t. I get calls all the time about rats and snakes (and other ‘critters’) in the community (or in the attic of someone’s home) and security has responded to a number of panicked owners with a snake or rat in their house, pool or garage. If we look around the community, we will likely find a quaint spot with a bird feeder inviting all the little critters to join in. Some owners put seed out just for the squirrels! I’ve mentioned before that I used to put little piles of seed out for the squirrels too so the birds could eat at the feeder – then a hawk decided I was offering a ‘squirrel buffet’ so I stopped that!
But snakes? Come on, Dawn, snakes don’t eat bird seed! Yep: you are correct; however, the snakes find mice to be a tasty treat! Birds and rodents both love to eat seeds so if you have birds at the feeder, you likely have rodents too. Since squirrels, mice and rats will forage on the ground for seeds and hulls, the snakes can just hang out and wait for the food to come to them.
PGA National is a beautiful community with four wonderful golf courses and a wilderness preserve on the western boundary. It is a good habitat for all kinds of birds…..and other wildlife including rats, snakes, foxes, opossum, and who knows what else (there even used to be a bobcat here before Masters Park was built).
People worry about rats and snakes in their homes and they worry about rabid animals. The POA prohibits the feeding of any wildlife, including birds and the above is only part of the reason why. We won’t even go into the weeds sprouting and the dead grass from the aforementioned critters foraging. When the hawk ate the squirrel at my house, the answer was simple: I got rid of the feeders. The answer seems simple in PGA too: get rid of the bird feeders and stop feeding the wildlife (and avoid a fine for violating POA rules!)
It is that time of year when the seasonal residents return and there are a lot of renters who have never seen an alligator. There are a number of benches near the lakes inviting you to rest and enjoy the view and often an alligator is spotted. Please be aware that you should never, ever feed alligators. They start to associate humans with food and that’s when tragedy strikes. In addition, it is absolutely true that alligators love dogs – and I don’t mean they want to be pals! Please don’t walk your dog near the water and never let the dog off the leash. Alligators look sluggish but they move FAST so be careful, stay alert and don’t feed the gators.
TORTURE AND CRUELTY
No, it is not an invitation or suggestions for being mean to me, it is a sad, heartbreaking situation that needs your attention. Someone is fishing and instead of removing the hook and putting the fish back, they are just cutting the line leaving several feet attached. Not only can
the fish then be caught on debris in the lake but the birds that eat the fish are endangered. You might want to stop reading right now if you (like me) can’t stand it when animals are injured. There have been a few Sand Hill Cranes (the big beautiful gray birds with the red heads) who died after getting caught in fishing line then getting hung up in trees.
I won’t go into the specific detail since this should be sufficient explanation but if you, or anyone you know, fishes, please tell them that they cannot leave fishing line on banks, in the water, or hanging from fish.
I can’t believe the year is almost over. If you are fortunate enough to have friends and family and the funds to enjoy a wonderful meal with them, remember that not everyone can. I hope you will take two minutes and a few dollars and contribute to one of the local food drives. Wishing all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!