Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Yard Wildlife

Or... "Living With Squirrels"!

Thanks in large part to our generous feeding of the local bird population (including, indirectly, the feeding of the local hawk population, as noted in earlier posts), our yard is visited by a prodigious number of squirrels. It's not unusual to look out and see 4, 5, or even 6 (or more) squirrels cavorting about the yard, feasting on the birdseed that spills on the ground. And as the photo to the right shows, sometimes the birdseed in the feeders!

Now, lots of folks object strenuously to such activity, but Annie and I just can't seem to be bothered by it. The way I figure it, what makes birds more worthy of feeding than squirrels? I'm not going to start setting up feeders specifically for them, mind you... it's just that I can't see going to the extreme lengths some people go to to rid their yards of squirrels. And honestly, do any of the things people do really work? Squirrels are so industrious and clever (and stubborn) that they seem to find ways around everything.

What brought them to mind tonight though, is a pair of squirrel incidents that happened today. This morning, I happened to glance out the window and saw a squirrel on his hind legs, reaching up to grab at the head of a sunflower that has started to arch over toward the ground. He's reach up, grab a seed, and let it go while he munched on his snack.. then reach up and repeat the whole process. I'd never seen one do that before, and it was pretty funny.

Even funier was the sight Annie was treated to a little while later. She saw a squirrel bounding across the lawn with something rather large and odd-looking in his mouth. It took her a moment to realize that it was the entire head of a giant sunflower! Apparently, in addition to the trick I witnessed, the squirrels have figured out how to pull the heads down and sever them from the stalk! Which explains why several of our sunflowers appear to have been decapitated. Not a big deal... most of the sunflowers in our yard are "volunteers" (see earlier post and photo) that sprung up thanks to the birdseed. But it does show you to what lengths a squirrel will go for food.

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