For several years I have been feeding local birds. While I’m sure they appreciated my generosity, they were risking their lives because we always seem to have at least one cat living with us. The hummingbirds were a tasty snack when the cat would lie in wait under a quince bush. The little birds seemed unaware that the blob of fur beneath the bush had claws and sharp teeth. Other birds would gather under their seed feeder to pick up the seeds that had fallen to the ground. The furball with claws kept nice and fat feeding on them.
So I stopped feeding the birds. As a benefit, the cat now gets only veterinarian-approved official government-inspected cheaper-by-the-ton Costco dry cat food. He’s getting fat and lazy and lethargic. Another benefit is to our fruit crop. Without an artificially-boosted gang of birds around, the plum tree is actually producing enough for us humans to harvest. So far the raccoons haven’t been by to break the branches, probably because of the growing abundance of feral/wild pigs eating what the raccoons used to eat, crowding them out. And we all know that pigs can’t climb trees worth a hoot. I don’t think they can even stand on their hind legs to reach up.
Only one local natural creature remains a threat to our plum crop—yellow jacket wasps. They seem to be growing in number because there was a bumper crop of apricots this year, and the plum tree is trying to catch up. I don’t know what to do about the yellow jackets. They usually only eat half a plum before moving on, so I get to eat lots of half plums. I just hope I don’t bite into one that still contains a wasp, though.