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Monday, December 14, 2009

Mea Culpa

Sciurus carolinensis Summer 2009

I can't help it....
They look so darn cute romping about in the yard. So, I feed them and any other creatures that venture in the yard. They get all kinds of goodies! Watermelon and cantaloupe in the summer. Cracked corn in the winter.They love peanut butter straight from the jar! They get the natural unsweetened stuff, because that's what we eat!

That may well explain how Ms Priscilla Peahen came to stay for an extended visit last month. She knew there was a buffet of goodies waiting for her behind the closed gate! Did you know that she packed her bags and decamped? Just as we were getting used to her and began trying to figure out how to keep her tootsies warm for the winter.

My belief hope delusion is was that if I feed the denizens regularly they would stay out of the bird feeders. That has so not worked! Regular readers might remember the squirrels taking turns hanging by their toes from the top of the pole to get to the suet. They were so bad! You can read about their escapades here. I know they have more mischief planned.

They do provide endless entertainment for Coal, the Kat King. We have a little id game going on here. I am trying to tell them apart! They all look alike to me. I can't tell the males from the females. I do know that there are 4 to 5 that hang out in the Garden of Benign Neglect. But, seriously, they all look like clones to me. They are very well organized and smart. I'm pretty sure they send the youngest to knock on the patio door when they run out of food!

Ssh! Please, don't tell an other critters how good the residents of C&L have it! It's bad enough that they already know that You big softy is written across my forehead.

Gail

PS I've found this new toy for them~~It's a bungee feeder When they jump on the block of corn it will bounce up and down! This could be fun for a little while.


“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.” - Edward O. Wilson

42 comments:

  1. Gail, there is nothing like squirrels to keep us amused! I don't have any in my garden but there is one or two in the garden outside the office window where I work - best of both worlds - I get to see and enjoy them but they don't eat my garden bulbs! I hope they are always well behaved!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

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  2. I'm going to have to start calling you 'mother nature' girl !
    If you feed them that well .. they WILL never leave, and take over your life girl !!! LOL .. we never seem to get bored watching little creatures .. so indulge and enjoy !
    Joy : )

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  3. Those furry tailed rats will be camped out in your attic the next thing you know. They are fun to watch.I can picture how they look boinging up and down on the bungie feeder.

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  4. I think squirrels are adorable in other people's yards.

    I really like the quote at the end.

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  5. Argh! Oh well, they are cute, there is no denying it. The bungee feeder looks like hours of fun for human critter watching too. And Coal. I am sorry to hear Priscilla has left the building, maybe she just went on a holiday jaunt and will return. The squirrel proof suet feeder from Kinsman does work, the birds have to work a little harder to get to the suet, but the four leggeds cannot get to it at all, there is plenty of food for them with several walnut trees about along with oaks, pecans, etc.
    Frances

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  6. Ah your squirrel friends should beware if I send Mr. Cooper over there! I actually like the squirrels and don't mind them too much on birdfeeders. You're keeping yours quite happy it seems!

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  7. Gail ... It is so strange to see your post this morning as I was watching a short POV film on pbs.org last night. It is about how residents in England are fighting the American squirrel that is killing off their native red squirrel. I had no idea. These guys can be cute but I hate to think they are killing the red squirrels here too! I am not sure of that but it is happening in England... some disease they give to the other squirrel and maybe a territory thing too. Great photos! I love the quote! Gosh only just reading about your thumbs... not to worry about answering me. Carol

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  8. Carol, I read about that when I was checking out squirrel info...Apparently they can be territorial and vicious even practicing infanticide. Nature has a dark side, too.
    gail

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  9. This post needs a warning: CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!

    It's so hard to clean out those peanut butter jars before putting them in the recycling. Now I know how :-)

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  10. Good morning, Gail. I used to have lots of squirrels but my resident hawk has been decreasing their numbers.
    Marnie

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  11. That bungee feeder looks very entertaining! This is why Toby the cat's favorite place at our house is on the back of the sofa in front of the picture window--sometimes joined by Sophie. The front yard is infinitely more entertaining than television:) Your chipmunks are so cute; I'd have to name one Alvin, of course:)

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  12. I thought I fed the birds well but you have me beat. I'm a big softie too but I've never given them a whole jar of peanut butter! Lucky C&L residents. I dole the portions out. The bungee feeder looks like hours of fun. I hope the peahen didn't meet her demise??? I can't imagine greener pastures...

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  13. I think of it as purposefully feeding squirrels, with birds added as a bonus! I also attract ducks (vacuum cleaners below the feeders), raccoons (not so wild about 'em but whatever), the occasional deer, the occasional opossum, chipmunks, and my nemesis the groundhog. I enjoy watching the squirrels--they are very inventive and clever. I sometimes give them peanut butter sandwiches made of old bread and the cheapest peanut butter I can find (they prefer crunchy). Of course, there was also the gingerbread house, but I'm not making one this year!

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  14. Oh my gosh! I LOVE that bungee feeder! I must try to find one of those for my Dad -- he has a running love/hate affair with the squirrels. :) They really are cute.

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  15. What happened to Priscilla? Did she leave?!

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  16. You know you're in trouble when you start to be able to recognize the squirrels and you start naming them. You should have asked me how well feeding the squirrels does to keep them out of the feeders. I would have been happy to enlighten you. At least your generosity to them has paid off well in photo opportunities. I have a hard time taking shots of my squirrels because I have instilled the fear of my wrath into them. They haven't knocked on my patio door in a very long time.

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  17. Great post, and it is nice to see someone who does appreciate those "rats with furry tails". Not that I don't think that they are cute, but they keep knocking my pots off the railing, and burying peanuts in my planters.

    Maybe I should just throw out the used jars of peanut butter, but then the raccoon would probably get his head stuck in it, and wake us up all night.

    It's a tough decision, LOL.
    Jen

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  18. Gail, I think the creatures appear to be in excellent form. Your portion control is perfect and with such high quality feed, no doubt they'll be able to provide you with double the number of offspring they normally would. I'd love to see a video of that bungee corn item in action, It looks like a hoot. I know where to send Bart should we ever run out of squirrels.

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  19. Dang sure can't get rid of them so you might as well get a laugh or two!

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  20. Phillip, She left one day and didn't return~~I haven't seen any evidence of her in the wayback or nearby yards...I hope she has just wandered further afield.

    gail

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  21. Love the photos, they are so funny. The bungee feeder would be a hilarious video, if you were serious. Are you serious?

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  22. Oh, Gail, what classic photos! I'm glad the squireels amuse you all and Coal. We let ours run around here too, though we don't need to do anything special to feed them---they love the cabin feeder and can empty it in no time flat (sigh). Just seeing how fat they are reassures me that they're not in danger of starving anytime soon. Oh, and if you do find out how to tell the males from the females, please let us know! I'd always assumed they were identical.

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  23. Your kindness is amazing! Most of us chase squirrels away and rant and curse at them. I topdressed my bulbs with Tabasco this year to keep them away after they started digging up my Erythroniums. And please do share pictures or video of the bungee feeder. What an invention!

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  24. You are very sweet and I imagine all your neighbors love you, too! Esp. if they're feeding birds and the squirrels come to your house!! ;-) Happy December, Gail.

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  25. Gail - what a HOOT! You are a dear to feed them and don't even apologize for it! It's like my feeding the deer. But I must say, I haven't provided toys for them!

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  26. The squirrels used to drive me crazy, but I finally accepted that they weren't going anywhere and now just like to watch them. They've stolen the last of the apples from the tree and were hilarious to watch climbing trees with a big apple in their mouths. Yours really do have it good!

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  27. I guess what they are, are brilliant survivors. I think you are such a nice person running a snack bar for them! Hopefully, the birds get what they need too.

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  28. Oh dear... I'm afraid I wasn't so friendly with the neighborhood rodents when we lived in the suburbs. Out in the country we don't have as many, though. I think the larger wildlife eats them!

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  29. Hi Gail,
    I'm guilty too. They have brought me so much pleasure. One of them got so "familiar" with us...that he climbed up my hubbie's pantleg. Now that's too friendly!

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  30. Personally, I don't think you have enough squirrels. I would be more than happy to send you a dozen or so from my yard. Maybe that will make up for the peahen's disappearance. My squirrels are not picky and will eat anything. They've thrived on bird seed and plastic covers for the sprinkler system. Surely your squirrels need a few more friends?? :-)

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  31. Jean, I sure appreciate your generosity! If Priscilla returns we could make a switch. One peahen for a few squirrels!

    Gail

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  32. You are a kind soul, indeed! I love all creatures, but must admit I like squirrels in OTHER people's gardens...they destroy not only my fruiting trees (chewing off the buds before they even blossom into fruits!) but wreak havoc on my bird feeders. Good thing they're so darn cute, though, isn't it!

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  33. Such fun Gail.....I am so pleased to hear that I am not alone. I am just too soft. Nella keeps me in check with Ratty though.....

    Squirrels are funny and so intelligent. I have several here and they are delighting at digging up newly planted bulbs. Aaaaaaaahh........

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  34. Squirrels are so smart they can even read the You Big Softie sign on your forehead Gail! (not that they need a sign, since actions speak louder than words. . . ) I still remember a PBS program from years ago where they tried to outsmart the squirrels with progressively more complicated and difficult-to-reach feeders. The squirrels figured out every one of them even though there was a series of actions they had to complete in the correct sequence to reach the food.

    I fed them all last winter, but I'm still sulking after the shade garden was eaten in September (even though squirrels probably weren't the culprits.) I did throw a bag-and-a-half of outdated peanuts into the compost yesterday though, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the squirrels find them.

    They are really cute to watch. George finds endless entertainment chasing them up the trees. This winter we only have two squirrels' nests in the trees - usually there are at least four or five nests.

    One year when we were kids, my youngest brother made friends with a squirrel, feeding it all summer. By the time we went back to school, the squirrel would climb up his pants leg and down his arm and eat peanuts right out of his hand. I should ask my mom to send me a picture to post. Mom was pretty easy-going about us making friends with wildlife. In retrospect it could have been dangerous, but none of us ever got sick or injured from handling snakes, spiders, turtles, toads, squirrels, etc.

    My sister tried to freak Mom out by bringing home a pet tarantula when we were in high school. . . she should have known Mom would take it in stride! And she still has You Big Softie plastered on her forehead!

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  35. Love that picture of your kitty spying on the squirrel!

    Neat springy feeder. I bet that will provide a lot of entertainment for the squirrels, Coal, and you!

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  36. Gail, You are just too funny!! No mea culpa needed. Fait accompli in fact. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeding the poor critters. Actually I commend you! Not sure Coal agrees though.

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  37. Gail,
    I love this post! Your photos are fun, and your last sentence made me laugh! I can tell one of my squirrels apart from the others because its chest hair is lighter than the others'. We found feeding them didn't cause them to leave the bird feeders alone, either, but they seem to be digging in the yard and pots less.

    Hey, when I took a co-worker home today, I saw a black squirrel, and I think she was surprised at how excited I was about it. I recently learned that gray squirrels have a black phase, and told her that, whether she wanted to know or not. LOL

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  38. Can't believe your visitor just up & left without letting you know. I do like to watch the squirrels as they are so funny. I was watching one out the kitchen window the other day trying to get the suet. Boy, was he ever swinging around. I don't have that many anymore. I've found remains in my yard so I think the neighbors cat got one or 2.

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  39. So sorry to hear Prisilla has flown the coup. I was hoping she would stay the winter. The bungee feeder is great! I just hope King Kat doesn't get dizzy watching the squirrels on it.

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  40. You are a nut for feeding those cute little critters. I guess I am a sucker for the chipmunks, since we don't have them in our area, I think they are cute! Yours sure stuffed his cheeks.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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