Tag Archives: squirrel

Squirrels

The Little Scoundrels

It’s hard for a gardener or anyone who is interested in gardening or nature not to mention squirrels.  Lately a couple of bloggers I follow have posted about them.  There was also a squirrel documentary on television showing their agility and cleverness.  After all they are rodents with an excellent Public Relations department.

Squirrels in our garden ruined many bird feeders, dug out bulbs, and stole our beans and tomatoes when they had no access to seeds.  As  destructive as they are, I tolerate them most of the time and have fun trying to outwit them.  Watching them figuring out our new feeder gadgets is always fun, especially when they slide off a feeder.  So far, the only way to keep them off is to put a feeder on a pole far enough out of their jump range and put a dome guard underneath the feeder.  But, during the growing season, they steal as much as they can from the garden in retaliation.  I know it’s in their job description, they’re still rodents after all, and our garden is an excellent deli for them.

My favorite t-shirt.
My favorite t-shirt.

In winter, when there is not much going on in the garden, bird and squirrel watching is a fun and relaxing activity.  There are two types of squirrels in our neighborhood, the common Eastern Gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) including its dark furred mutant (melanistic), and American Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).  Only the Gray squirrels and its mutants come to the feeder.  The Red squirrels usually stay in the trees and hiss at me when I walk by.  They are very unfriendly and the most territorial of all the squirrels around here.

A Gray squirrel on the job enjoying raiding our feeders.

Sniffing and calculating balance
Sniffing and calculating balance
Got a grip
Got a grip
It should be an easier way to eat than this
It should be an easier way to eat than this
Ok, let look around and figure out a strategy
Ok, let look around and figure out a strategy
Ha! This is much more comfortable
Ha! This is much more comfortable
And, grab a warm drink to wash it down
And, grab a warm drink to wash it down

The Gray squirrels usually chase the black ones away but they still come around when there’s plenty of food to share.

Melanistic Eastern Gray squirrel enjoyed mulberries in the garden last summer
Melanistic Eastern Gray squirrel enjoyed mulberries in the garden last summer

More squirrels in the garden in Funny Looking Bird and My Tail is My Coat

 

Summer Feast

The Only Time We Compete

This time of year is the only time we, the birds and us, compete for fruits in our garden.  We have wild cherry, ornamental cherry, white mulberry, wild raspberry, Golden raspberry, strawberry and blueberry on the property.  We gave up on the wild cherry since it’s  too tall for us to harvest; the birds always get the fruit first.  Our neighbor used to put a bed sheet under one of the trees but what she got was the left over from the birds.  We can only get the sweet, white mulberry from the lower branches but that’s enough.  This year there are so many fruits that the birds and squirrels have taken longer to clean them up.  So we are still picking mulberry.

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) enjoying white mulberry
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) enjoying white mulberry
A wet Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) looking for a ripe mulberry
A wet Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) looking for a ripe mulberry
American Robin (Turdus migrators) also joins the feast
American Robin (Turdus migrators) also joins the feast
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) looks more like a Christmas ornament among green leaves
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) looks more like a Christmas ornament among green leaves
Can't forget the Gray squirrel
Can’t forget the Gray squirrel
And the black squirrel
And the black squirrel

Wild raspberry has not yet ripened.  There will not be much fruit this year.  I removed many of them early in spring because they were getting too invasive.  Since there is no distraction now from the wild raspberry, I am more concerned with the Golden raspberry and am considering putting a net over them.  I will have to cover the blueberries before the fruit ripens as well.  The Gray Catbirds are pretty good at keeping their eye on the fruit.

We have been sharing strawberries this year since I have no time to cover them.  What ever the birds missed is our feast.

A pair of Cedar Waxwing on cherry tree
A pair of Cedar Waxwing on cherry tree
American Robin in the act of cherry picking
American Robin in the act of cherry picking

Competing for ripe fruits in the garden doesn’t make us enemies.  The birds still work the other part of the garden; picking off insects and grubs which are much more destructive to our garden.  Losing some fruit to them is a small price to pay for their service.