Saturday, November 19, 2022

Those Are Not Bird Nests

Those are not bird nests.

When I let Lucy out after supper, just at dusk, I looked up at my favorite tamarack tree as I always do and said, "Aww, there are two bird nests from the summer up there." But then I stopped and said, "No! Those nests were not there yesterday or last week or this morning! It's the porcupines!" And I groaned. 

Just after the tamaracks lost their needles (they are a deciduous conifer tree), I saw the evidence of my Barn Porcupine damaging the tree. I showed it to my kids and they chuckled. 

Porcupines ate the bark off the left branch.

The kids didn't know what they were looking at, so I pointed it out to them:

But even I was questioning if it was porkies eating the bark because it isn't the strongest branch and the damage was way out at the end—where the tenderest bark is. Porcupines can be huge like the one that is living under my barn. In the top photo, my Barn Porcupine is on the right on the trunk of the tree and presumably his smaller lady love, who may or may not be under the barn living with him, is on the left here in the photo:

Here is Lady Porcupine

This was a handheld shot with my bug camera (I have lent Amelia my huge camera with my long lens and think I have to get it back now). I used digital zoom while I braced my arms on my walker while sitting on a stool in the laundry room with the back door open heating the entire outdoors with the price of oil what it is.

I'm going to call Fish & Wildlife for advice about my trees. I have over 100 tamaracks that my husband carefully tended for me because I love them so.  Plus the apple orchard, which porcupines also love. Plus the sugar maples that they love that we used to tap. 

A porcupine's only natural enemy is a fisher cat. Fisher cats are vicious wolverine-type furry animals that will attack for no reason at all and are legend for killing house cats and small dogs. I have had them trying to get into my house in the summer through open windows. I close all first floor windows at night in the summer now. But I haven't seen a fisher here for years. I don't want them back. And I don't want the porcupines to kill my trees. And I don't want them shot.

The same tamarack in 2013. It was much smaller.
In November they turn this brilliant orange and are 
seen blazing on mountain sides everywhere here.
The boulder is Pansy Rock where Angel Pansy,
a disabled cat, was buried by my husband. 

Saturday's Critters at
Viewing Nature with Eileen



  1. Oh my, I did not know the porcupines did so much damage to the trees.The Tamarack trees in the last photo are beautiful. I hope you can find a way to move the porcupines away from your property. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and have a happy new week.

  2. It is amazing to see your photo of the porcupine. There are none in Ohio and I've only had The Misfortune of seeing dead ones on the highway in upper Michigan.

  3. I do hope you can find a good solution for you, the trees and the porcupines.


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