Tag Archives: squirrel

Blizzard squirrel!

We’re getting a proper storm now, after a couple of “weather events” that I would call normal winter snowfall, but were hyped up out of proportion before hand (and got me all excited) but fizzled.img_5377

This is a real storm.  We had a foot of snow overnight and supposed to get another foot during the day today, with blistering winds.  2300 Nova Scotians are already out of power, and only emergency workers are allowed to drive (in some places, the plows aren’t even out-near us, one went off the road).  The snow is piled up on our windowsills and we had to push the door open through the snow.  Nicely corniced drifts curve around any structures.img_5373 img_5382

The chickens are cozy in the chicken dome.  The chickadees are at work.  Bunnies are taking refuge under our house (when we kick our boots off on the threshold it scares them and they come shooting out), and the squirrel is hungry.

Hungry enough to tackle the squirrel proof bird feeder.

This time, the pictures are fuzzy because of the blowing snow.img_5365

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The chickadees were waiting to get the feeder back

Frustrated by the feeder, he retreated to a branch to warm up his hands.  The wind was blowing his tail around.

Suddenly, he ran down the tree and disappeared into the snow at the base of the trunk!

A minute later, he popped up through the snow under the feeder like a gopher, having tunneled under.

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He spent a while burrowing around, finding all the spilled seeds from the last couple days in the snow.  img_5341 img_5344

When a big gust came up, he would vanish below the snow again for a moment.

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Squirrel “ventilation shafts” in the snow.

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And the one at the base of the tree.

I went out to cast more seed multiple times during the day, as the snow was gumming up the feeders and there were 11 chickadees here but having a hard time in the wind.  They were doing best staying low and eating off the snow, but the snow would cover seed rapidly, soooo, I essayed out to feed my dependents again and again.

This is where I keep the seed:

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There was a snow cave dug into the dome of snow on top of the can!img_5379

A proper snow cave, with a back door:)

Name that owl! Trail cam pictures

1019482710235281When I look through my trail cam pictures, I expect to see a squirrel.

 

 

Maybe a squirrel eating a snack…

 

 

 

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Maybe a squirrel tail.

 

 

 

 

Maybe a squirrel tail at night.

 

Ok, maybe several hundred pictures of a squirrel.10164449

Apparently I set up my camera where the squirrel hangs out to survey the domain of which he is master.

It’s really not my place at all.

 

And THEN, there are the real shockers.

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WOW!

What kind of owl is that?

 

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I’m used to the little barred owls, but they don’t have that distinctly outlined face.

Awesome!

Squirrel mayhem

I unlocked the shop (tiny shed-where we keep our stuff, since we live in a tiny house) and walked in.  I startled a squirrel that was on the central support post just as I walked in.  It squawked before dashing out by the eaves, and as it did something fell to the ground, catching the light as it fell.

I did whatever I’d come to the shop for, and just before I left I wondered what that squirrel had dropped, and looked for it on the floor.

It was a Hershey’s kiss!  Gold foil wrapped.

Perfectly intact, dropped from the interloping squirrel’s mouth as it gasped in surprise when I walked in.

This was like the movie moment when realization dawns on the heroine that the killer is already IN her house! (or Verbal Kint IS Keyser Soze!  or five holds have been breached, not four!).

Realization dawned.  I spun around to gaze at the Rubbermaid tubs behind me.  In slow motion, with realization music of doom playing.  It just so happened that I bought some gold-foil-wrapped Hershey’s Kisses quite recently.  They’d been on sale the day after Halloween.  I’d secured them in a blue Rubbermaid.

I went to the tub, the only known location of Hershey’s Kisses.  I pulled it out of the shelf and this is what I found:

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The hole was chewed on the far side of the lid, where it wasn’t easily seen.  Better yet, the Kisses were on the opposite side of the bin, so the squirrel had to get himself into the bin, wriggle across it for the kisses (ignoring apparently less tempting foods), and then turn around and get out.  She’d chewed in the wrong end.img_4622

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What a mess.  The little varmint had enjoyed several candies already at the scene of the crime.  I could get an accurate count by the little Hersey’s pull tabs (17).  The wrappers were a mass of shredded foil.  Sticky foil.  They were caramel kisses.  But since I’d surprised that squirrel in the act of leaving with a kiss that was totally intact, how many whole kisses did she already take away, and where is the squirrel lair packed with a golden pile of Hershey’s Kisses?  That squirrel must think he’s got the stash of the century.

I fixed him with some hardware cloth.

Squirrel Wars

The squirrel is winning.

First there were skirmishes.   I tried a string to the bird feeder to yank on and eject the thieving squirrel.  The squirrel chewed its way into the bird seed bucket.

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I would jam a steel bucket upside down on top of this compromised bucket in order to keep them out. I mean jam it on, squeeze it down, not just rest it on.

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images.oheadpressSomehow, I don’t know how, but the squirrel would lift or pry that steel bucket off of the prize.  I like to imagine a little squirrel overhead press, lifting the bucket off with Olympian effort.

I’d be in the house and hear -CLANG!- and know that the squirrel conquered the bucket again.  Then I’d give him some minutes to enjoy it after all that work before I went out and put the bucket back on top.

Then one day:

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HW came inside with the bucket, and a squirrel still inside- worried and holding still.

These pictures are shot through the hole in the lid.

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But I’m so cute!
But I'm so cute!
Aren’t I cute?

…………….

Then for a little while I didn’t notice the squirrel so much.  I’d slowed down on feeding the birds, since it was warm. I figured he’d moved on along with the birds to the usual burgeoning springtime wildcrafted buffet.

I hadn’t refilled the seed bucket in the wood”shed”.  Little did I know, HW had.

So one day, I find this:

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In case you can’t tell, that’s about an inch of empty husks.

So that’s where the squirrel’s been.  Feasting and cavorting like a kid in a ball pit.

Oh yeah, squirrel?

I put a bucket full of dirt on top of the seed bucket.  That’ll fix ’em.

A few hours later….

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That’s what I get for using a plastic bucket.

I gave the remaining seed to the birds and gave up for this year.

Squirrel skirmishes

My ersatz bird feeders ain’t pretty, but they get the job done.

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20160421_095430However, they do NOT pose an inconvenience at all to the (fat, glossy) squirrel who frequents the buffet.

I haven’t gotten around to building a proper squirrel proof feeder. Attempts last year with shields totally didn’t work, although they inspired some squirrel acrobatics and probably gave him some brain exercise, thus creating a smarter squirrel.

Squirrel have impressive intelligence.  The squirrel obstacle course videos never get old.

Our best method is to whisper “Squirrel!” to the dog if he’s inside,  who instantly leaps to high alert, and presses his nose against the crack of the door.   (Think Up!, the movie.  Yes, there is a shortened circuit in the brain of dogs – thy name is Squirrel!)   Open it and he bursts out, galloping at the bird feeder.  The squirrel leaps out of the feeder, and if he’s unlucky enough to not grab a tree to run up, a wild ground chase ensues.  That will keep him away for a few minutes.  There have been close enough calls that this is still exciting for the dog.

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My recent attempt to deter the squirrel is funnier than it is effective.

I’ve got a long string strung from the feeder to inside the window.

20160421_095359When I see the squirrel making himself at home in the milk jug, I give the string a sharp yank.  The squirrel goes catapulting out of the jug, twisting in the air and landing willy nilly, after which he spends some time running up and down the trees and shaking his tail in umbrage.  Then he goes back in the feeder.  He’s already used to it, now it’s just a surprise rollercoaster ride.

My next version will be cantilevering a stick so that it whacks the feeder when I pull the string.  That should be good for a few more days of tail twitching outrage.

I don’t really begrudge the squirrel, either.  He’s not taking all that much product, and he does not bring all his friends.   That’s not in his best interests.   I just mind that he gets in the feeder and then the birds can’t.

Also, he safecracked the bird seed bucket. 

20160420_124301Straight to the motherlode.  Ruined a functional lid, the little %@##&!   This must have taken him all night, and if now if I don’t put something heavy and steel on it, and turn my back for even a second….

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Squirrel friends

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There’s a bold little squirrel coming around mooching for food.  It’s the cutest thing, he stands up like a gopher with his little front paws folded in, shivering a little, staring boldly up with his head a little inclined.  He took his first nut, in the shell, off my hand and then paused a little distance away, turning it all over in his mouth and smelling it, then, coming to some decision, running away under the fence with it.  He was back a little while later, standing up on the patio door looking at me.

IMGP4512It’s so magical to be trusted by a little wild creature!  I know he just wants nuts, but it’s a blessing to have a little squirrel put his hand on yours.  Such a rare experience, and it’s a mutually pleasing arrangement.  I’m probably more thrilled to give him a nut than he is to get it.

Having a moment of intimate contact with a wild being that usually avoids people for its own safety is a special event, like having a bird perch on your finger or a wolf show itself to you.

IMGP4482I’ve never touched a squirrel before, nor seen one so close up.  They have luxurious whiskers, like a cat, and soft chins.  Their claws are curved and very sharp, but the “palms” of their paws are cool, soft skin like our hands. His tail is quite gauzy instead of thick and plush like they look from a distance.

“My” squirrel has a very soft chin, and he has a lot of control.  He rests his paws gently on my hand and pulls himself up, then delicately retrieves the prize with his mouth.  Sometimes he smells my fingertips or even more gently nibbles them a little.

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Any more?

My mom would be horrified.

Then he quickly sits on his haunches, if it’s out of the shell, and devours his nut by holding and turning it with his little paws.  That’s about as delicate a process as a buzz saw – tiny chips of nut flying like sawdust.  He can eat a filbert in about 10 seconds, and then he’s looking for more.

With this facility for trust and looking cute, he’s not a thin squirrel.  I tried gently stroking his fuzzy chest while he was busy harvesting.   He leapt back when he noticed I was touching him but not before I felt some strong little squirrel muscles under his fur.

IMGP4507 Continue reading Squirrel friends