Tag Archives: squirrels

Even for the squirrels it’s harvest time

Squirrel enjoying corn

The squirrels plant corn all over the place. You might think they’re just caching it, by hiding kernels in the ground, but in some spots it comes up spaced so evenly, it looks deliberately planted. And in this one spot, which doesn’t actually get all that much sun, somehow two years in a row now, the world’s smallest corn patch has sprouted, grown, flowered, and ripened. All so the squirrels can eat some more corn kernels and cache the rest.

This is why I feed the squirrels, too

Squirrel hanging upside down eating suet

Squirrels don’t know which food is for the birds and which is for them. The acrobatics they go through getting past the difficulties I try to put in their way are so entertaining, I always forgive them. And then bring another ear of dried corn. Because you know sunflower seed and suet is bird food. Corn is squirrel food. Get it straight, guys.

A squirrel or two in view

Local wildlife

This is the view from the back window the other day.

The cat, I think, is looking the wrong way.

I don’t care that squirrels hog the bird food, they’re cute

Squirrel enjoying freshly deployed corn

The summer mob of young birds is emptying the bird feeder within a few hours every day. Most of them are sparrows, fighting with each other, and begging from their parents. There’s a couple of young cardinals, all gawky and splotchy with their adult reds not quite filled in. And there’s at least one young blue jay, still a bit fluffy around the edges. Watching the birds is sweet, but for cute, I watch the squirrels.

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Link laziness

I’m not getting a whole lot done today, so here’s a random collection of things to read to keep you from getting anything done.

The hawks in the area are active, but that’s not keeping the squirrels down.  Here’s a video of a squirrel daring a young hawk to come and get it. Warning: includes a clip of a hawk barely managing to carry a dead squirrel.

Since I love bugs, I enjoyed this remembrance of Thomas Eisner. Warning: lead photo is a bad-ass black scorpion.

And  The Scariest Story is guaranteed to distract you.  Warning: if you haven’t been keeping up with Hyperbole and A Half, prepare to spend hours in the archives.

Enjoy!

Drinky birds

This is the view out my window, for a little while, after I pour a kettle of hot water into the dish.

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Squirlfeeder

Squirlfeeder partially transformed into bird feeder

A little-known variety of the North American trickster animal is the Squirlfeeder. Somewhat like the Japanese tanuki, this small furry animal resembles a squirrel in its natural shape, but when threatened can transform itself into other objects to fool humans. The backyard variety favors the bird feeder, for obvious reasons. Here you see an incomplete transformation: Once the squirlfeeder could no longer see me, it thought I couldn’t see it, and it forgot to conceal its tail. I leave to your imagination what happened when it noticed that I was standing right next to it taking pictures.

Oh, I finished writing a decent draft of my story, and it’s off to critique.

Squirrel Corn

Half-eaten corn in squirrel feeder

The latest addition to the critter feeders is a hanger to put dried corncobs in. This is my most successful attempt so far to get the squirrels to leave the birds more sunflower seeds. In the mornings, I often see squirrels having a leisurely breakfast, but after I fill the bird feeders, they still go for the sunflower seeds. So I wasn’t sure that the squirrels really liked the corn all that much.

Curiously familiar sprouts

Meanwhile, the latest mystery sprouts look awfully familiar with their grassy blades, friendly even, but I couldn’t quite place what they were.

Then I spotted a squirrel caching corn. They like the corn after all! They do this with peanuts too. When they find something they especially love, they carry away tidbits, and hide them. It’s so funny to watch them scratch in the dirt with their tiny little hands. Then they put the kernel in. They even pat the dirt over it firmly. The idea is to have lots of little places they can come back to for a snack.

Or is it?

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More raiders of the feeders

Juvenile cardinal

The raccoons are the last ones to get a chance at the bird feeders. The real reason I fill the feeders every day is all the hungry young critters out there. For instance, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have two kids again this year.  With cardinals, the juveniles look just like Mom, except that their beaks are grey, not orange. And they tend to be bold enough to not care that you’re taking blurry photos of them through the kitchen window.

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Things are squirrelly around here

Squirrel feeder

If you’re dealing with Day 2 and counting in the Great Boston Boil Order of 2010 (aka #aquapocalyse ), hang in there! Not by your back feet, but hang in there! You can deal with this. You can deal with the sudden arrival of summer weather, too. Warm, sticky weather. Maybe we should boil some lobsters while we’re at it.