Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nature Notes: Let the Games Begin

I knew it was too good to last.

A squirrel finally found the feeder. And what a squirrel. He sucks up seed faster than a Hoover upright and he is fearless.

He ignored my window pounding, arm waiving, hooting and hollering. It kept munching when I opened the door. He did not run when I approached the feeder to within six feet of him. That's about as close as I want to be to a critter that can crack hickory nuts with its teeth.

I retreated to the garage and armed myself with the pool strainer. It actually took a physical poke to the backside to dislodge the little pest from the deck railing, and he was back before I had finished stomping the snow off my shoes.

There was nothing for it but to move the feeder to a less convenient location, where at least his thievery is entertaining.

Click here to visit Michelle's site and see more Nature Notes.


Michelle said...

Vicki...I just put up this week's Nature Notes and added your post to the link. The collage was last week's bloggers, I was just late in getting it check the site again...Michelle

Jedediah said...

The photos are hilarious. There's a squirrel coming to my feeder table, but the red squirrels here are much less greedy than the grey ones you have.

Rambling Woods said...

Hmmm..yep. The grays are persistent little creatures. They can jump 8-10 feet so it's hard to keep them out of a feeder like that unless it was up away from where they could reach it. The only feeders that keep them out here since many of them on in the trees are the weight sensitive kind like the Squirrel Buster which is pretty inexpensive. But I admit to putting corn out to feed them too.

Love the humor....Michelle

Carver said...

Ha, the squirrels are definitely heavily into seeds. Great shots and a fun post.

Leora said...

Those squirrel speeches are cracking me up! You have a hilarious squirrel there.

EG Wow said...

Hehe! I featured a squirrel this week too! I'm sure squirrels have no idea how funny they are...or aggravating! But I don't mind them if they help cleanup after the birds.

My husband has installed a bird baffle (an upside-down wok purchased at a garage sale) on one pole, an idea that has totally baffled local squirrels for two or three years.

We also have a feeder that squirrels cannot eat from but in good weather chipmunks will raid - not a problem this time of year.

I'll try to remember to take photos of our feeders for a future Nature Note post.

lifeshighway said...

You can slow them down but you cannot stop them. Be prepared to be amazed at lengths your new muncher will go to continue his seed fix.

Linda Myers said...

Great pic of the stretching squirrel!

My husband has a humane squirrel trap on our porch, near the feeders. When a squirrel takes the bait, husband transfers it to a traveling cage and takes it to a park across town to release it.

So far this year 28 squirrels have found a new home.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, Thanks for putting up the link! I wondered whether those weight ones worked. I'll have to look into one.The cage ones look promising, but they'd keep out cardinals and blue jays, which I like.

Jedediah, the red ones are so cute. We don't seem to have many of those here.

Carver and Leora, glad it made you smile.

MyMaracas said...

EG, what a creative solution your hubby found! Part of my problem is I don't have a freestanding pole for the feeder. It hangs from hooks, way too close things squirrels and raccoons can use as perches.

Life, I'm sure you're right. Once they find a feed, there's nothing that will keep them from trying.

Linda - 28??!!! Say it ain't so, Linda, say it ain't so. LOL It's kind of you to catch and release them.

Michelle said...

Vicki...I used the weighted ones and the jays can still use them and occasionally reach into the caged ones. But it does have to be out of reach of the sideways paw.

I wanted to say something about trapping wildlife. Unless you know what you are doing and are trained and certified to do it, it is not a good idea and not usually humane.

Animals are territorial. New animals introduces can be killed. Moving squirrels that would be dumb enough to be trapped are probably young squirrels and squirrels stay with their mothers learning how to be squirrels for months. It might be kinder to kill them than to stress them and the populations that is already in the area that you take them too. I really debated about saying anything, but the term humane is not correct here...My info in from my wildlife rehabber connections...

Michelle said...

Trapping and Relocating Squirrels

We discourage the use of live traps to relocate squirrels. Relocating individual squirrels away from their home range without altering the habitat is merely a short term solution. Relocating animals will cause more long term problems for the homeowner by actually increasing the local population. By removing existing squirrels you invite others to come in and compete for the new resources created by the available territory, resulting in more squirrels than you had before in a relatively short period of time.

Due to increased resources, litter size tends to increase as well. Since squirrels can breed twice a year, the results of trapping can be noticed relatively quickly. If a squirrel is removed from a habitat, other types of animals requiring the same resources as squirrels (for example rats & mice) may increase to take advantage of the increased food/resource availability.

Barb said...

Love the captions, not so much the squirrels. I've been having on going problems with them stealing my chicken food. It would bother me so much if they ate it but keep having my foot drop into pockets of it in the sand all over the place.

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, thanks for the thought-provoking information. If relocating them causes an increase in population, then I would think killing them would do the same thing. Though that seems counterintuitive, somehow. I have heard of people luring them away from the bird seed by putting up squirrel feeders with corn. Maybe that's another option. Man, it's always something, isn't it.

Rambling Woods said...

Hi Vicki...I meant that if you think you are being kind to animals by locating them, it may be kinder to euthanize...Michelle

MyMaracas said...

Michelle, you're probably right. An animal removed from its territory and plunked down in another's is probably as out of place and disruptive as any non-native.

I won't be shooting anything any time soon, though. Tempting though that may be.

Caron said...

Just a few days ago I saw a squirrel on one bird feeder that has been squirrel-free for SEVEN years. I think the pine trees have grown closer...well, over seven years naturally the pines have grown. It just dawned on me how the darn thing got there. Yikes!
The photos are hilarious! I too don't like the idea of relocating animals. Imagine someone relocating you. Oh my.