January 30, 2021

Deer, Woodpeckers, and Mouse.


When I drove up to Dickey Ridge the other afternoon, that was as far as Skyline Drive was open because there was ice covering the road at higher elevations. There were other people there even though it was cold. If you look closely at the second picture, there are some people walking front of the forest in the center of the picture. The deer is not concerned because tourists are constantly walking there to see the view. 

The bird hanging from the feeder is a downy woodpecker, our smallest woodpecker. It's one of the bolder birds in my yard and sometimes continues to eat when I go out the back door. Every other bird flies away except the geese, who think there's a possibility I'm going to feed them. 

This larger woodpecker is a red-bellied woodpecker. 

Today's final creature is a mouse. He's partly in shadow but I only had a moment between the time I released him from a box and the moment he scampered away. 

This little guy has been keeping me awake at night, scratching around in my bedroom. I have traps all over the place, plus an electronic pest repeller that does not seem to bother these critters. This morning he entered a Mouse Cube around 5 AM and started tapping the plastic door trying to get out. It is hinged in one direction so he was trapped. I got up and put the trap, which is a little plastic box, in a shoebox which I then placed in the laundry room. Unfortunately I could still hear it so I didn’t get much sleep.

The problem with these “humane” traps is that mice usually enter them in the small hours of the morning, usually at 1 AM or later, and often in terrible weather when it isn't very humane to release them outdoors. I use them because mice are surprisingly smart and often avoid the snap traps. I’ve caught more mice in this type of box than any other trap. But you have to release the mouse far enough away from your house so it will not find its way back. The recommended distance is at least one mile but that’s not always practical. Also you have to avoid any location close to someone else’s house.
I stayed in bed until 10 AM, having had very little sleep. As soon as the temperature rose to almost the freezing point, I put on warm clothes and went out to release him. At first he did not want to get out of the box and he was shivering. I don’t blame him. Not only was it cold, but the chances are very high that he will get eaten by a cat or owl.

I had my cell phone so I got his picture. I hope he doesn't find his way back to the house.


  1. You seem to care very much for your mice. It is interesting the advice to release a caught one so far from your home. I imagine that there are many more mice that you don't see and that just like birds, the ones you see are often different individuals?

  2. Hello,
    Great shots of the deer and woodpeckers! The mouse is cute, my hubby has set up traps around the house. They like coming inside when the weather is so cold. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, happy Sunday! Have a great new week! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  3. The way you trapped and released the rodent is commendable. If it ultimately provides food for a hungry owl it will have found its way back into the food chain. Like you, I welcome mice, voles and other rodents into my world - except in my house. When that happens we have to part company!

  4. Well, I hope he didn't get caught by the cat or owl and found a warm place to "thaw out". Love that photo of red-bellied close-up! Wow. (And always enjoy the serenity of seeing deer)

    Thanks so much for sharing with us at IRBB this weekend. Stay safe.
    ~Anni at I'd Rather B Birdin'

  5. ...I like your downey the best.

  6. I'm sure he'll be fine outside! But that's nice of you to care about all of the critters! Love your woodpecker pics!

  7. Sorry to hear he kept you awake...and happy to hear you could not only release him, but get a pic too! Loved the woodpeckers too!

  8. Deciding which creatures to sympathize with and which ones lack human morals is really difficult! Mice are cute but really undesirable in our houses. Your concern for the life of the mouse is inspiring, but also your awareness of owls that need to live.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  9. It's always interesting to see your birds that come and feed in or near your home. Then further away the shots of the deer are wonderful. Sorry that the mouse kept you awake. That's not surprising! How thoughtful to trap it humanely and be concerned about its welfare when you released it.

  10. Our downy woodpeckers are also fairly "tame" and often wait for me to fill the feeders. Sometimes they sit and wait before I've even had a chance to get out there. Hope the mouse finds a new home, far away from your own.

  11. I like the dear and the woodpecker. Hope the mouse likes outdoors more.

  12. Nice to see the dear and the woodpecker.
    I do hope the mouse moves far away from you!

    All the best Jan

  13. What a wonderful series of captures Linda, I love your red bellied woodpecker


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