Not sure I'm looking forward to spring any more... !
... Because when the snow melted (briefly up here in the hills of northwest Connecticut) last week, I discovered a veritable maze of vole trails down by my barn. Not as many (though a few) closer to my garden(s), although I did see a beautiful barred owl nab a vole right out of the snow along the path leading to my new butterfly garden (so I KNOW they're there, too! :(
So... I see a number of posts (Diggerdee, etc.) from the past few years about voles, with some recommending trapping, some using "MoleMax" and everyone agreeing that these guys are trouble. What I need to know is what worked for folks, can I do anything at this time of year, and what are the odds these little cuties will hightail it back to the REAL meadow (right next to their maze of trails in the grass) once it warms up. (I will note that when the guy brush-hogged our meadow last fall, he asked afterwards if I "knew I had hundreds of voles" -- apparently they tore out of the meadow at breakneck speed when he mowed it.
Another question: one change (we haven't seen these in previous years), aside from the more constant snow cover of this winter, is that we started a more significant compost pile down behind the barn last year. Is that an invitation to voles? I know they like mulch, but does a mound of it serve as an open house invitation? (There's lots of other stuff in this compost pile as well as grass clippings.)
I have a cat already (he has caught a few), so no feral cats in my future. I'm hoping the barred owl returns but so far, no dice (any value to a screech owl box or not?)
Haven't actually SEEN any damage to shrubs yet, but the ground is still frozen, of course. But I've invested a lot (of sweat, not to mention CTSwapper plants!, in these gardens...
Thanks for any advice!