Sunday, December 17, 2017

Yard Critter of the Week - Pine Vole

We were sitting in the living room when I noticed movement in the yard. It was twilight and most birds had gone to roost. So we watched and waited. It would dart out and back. I thought it was a mouse. But Patty nailed it.

"A vole," she said.

And so it was.

A Pine Vole, aka Woodland Vole.

It would run out from behind the stump, grab some bird seed, and quickly scamper back. A high ISO and lots of frames later, I had a couple of 'blog worthy' shots.

Perhaps not such a welcome critter in the garden as, in addition to bird seed, they like to dine on the roots of plants. Which, as you might imagine, is not good for the plants.

And makes for unhappy gardeners.

As part of our continuing war on lawn, we've put some cardboard down around some native plants in our front yard (the cardboard blocks sunlight, and thus prevents other plants from competing with those we've just planted). And under the cardboard we found vole tunnels, as seem in the image above. Unlike those made by moles, vole tunnels are small and close to the surface.


We tend to watch a television show after dinner most nights (a sports talk show, Highly Questionable, on ESPN). And as we watched the vole was a regular visitor, always at exactly the same place and time, for about a week. And then it was gone. As this spot is in our bird feeder area, the food supply has not diminished. And as voles do not hibernate that's not the reason. A predator perhaps? We'll probably never know.

But we'll keep watching.

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

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