It occurred to me that there needs to be some explanation about my mouse-baiting.
It all came to a crisis a couple of years ago when I saw my first live owl. It was on my deck, just sitting there in a corner. At first I thought it was a fuzzy ball, and went out to investigate. But when I came close the fuzzy ball opened its eyes!
A baby owl! Or so I thought since it did not fly off, until I did some research in my bird field guide. It was a saw-whet owl--no bigger than a baseball if fully fluffed up. It totally changed how I felt about owls. So small, light and beautiful. The feathers were soft and the color of a grey winter forest--flecks of brown, rust and charcoal. Bright yellow eyes bore into my bird-loving heart, blessing it with wonder.
It sat there all day, and I concluded that it was sick. Finally it fell over and dropped off the deck. I retrieved it, put it comfortably in a lined box and called up the local bird rescue. They explained that it had probably eaten a mouse that was in its last death throes after eating D-con, or some other mouse poison. The mouse was an easy catch, but it was also the demise of the owl. I was mortified as I thought of the D-con in my own attic, and vowed I would never use that stuff again. The little owl died shortly thereafter. It grieved me deeply.
So now comes the problem--if the mice would stay outside I wouldn't care how many there were. But when they come inside, eat up package after package of Ramen noodles--even when I lock them in a plastic bin--and leave behind nasty little pellet droppings, then something must be done. Even all that would not raise my ire--but when I found them nesting in my quilt fabric boxes it became all out war!
Recently I called in a pest control expert. He wanted to use poison. I said no. So he set some traps that would catch them alive. I would have to deal with them after that. Let's just say that it cost too much money, did not catch them alive, and caused considerable pain, distress and agony for the dying mouse, and considerable pain, distress and agony for me when I saw the results.
So it's back to Jif and pop-eyed dead rodents--if only they would not take the bait and run.