Q: I have been seeing rats playing in my backyard. I also see them on my maple tree eating the leaves, hiding in the hawthorn shrubs, and running along the fence. I have not seen them on my birdfeeder yet, but certainly under it. What can I do to get rid of them?
A: The best thing to do is to start giving the birds food that they eat completely before throwing it on the ground where the rats can get it. Use only black oil sunflower seed, which birds will consume before it falls to the ground. Inexpensive bird seed that contains millet, cracked corn or wheat causes birds to messily scratch through it looking for what they like.
Your second job will be to eliminate the rats before they come in your house looking for their next meal. I recommend a half dozen rat-sized snap traps, individually placed where you’ve seen them play.