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Ten-squirrel party in the back yard.

A few minutes ago, ten (10!) squirrels were eating the seeds I put out this morning! This might be a new record. I didn't even know that many lived so close to the yard.

One was eating bird-seed out of the bird-feeder. Now, I love my squirrels, but the seed is also intended for the neighborhood bird population. We have Jays, Cardinals, Doves, and many varieties of Little Brown Birds. So I went outside to have a chat with the fellow in the feeder to encourage him to leave. Most of the other squirrels scattered when I opened the sliding-glass door; however, en route, one squirrel on the back patio refused to move more than a few steps out of my way. Brave little beggar - I think this is the one who stands at the door asking for dinner every day. Here's a before-shot of the party; Brave Dude is in the center-front, nearest the glass:



When I reached the garage, the bird-feeder squirrel just looked at me for a few seconds as I stood mere feet away. "Hey, little fellow, those are for the birds." *blink-blink*

Then he hopped to the ladder on the side of the garage (a foot or two farther away) and stared at me for a few more seconds until finally getting frustrated that I wasn't leaving. I went back inside to heat up some coffee. Minutes later? Yeah, back in the feeder. *sigh*

Just in case you missed 'em in the last photo, here is a visual aid. Note that three are not visible: one each to the right and left, and one in the fire-pit gnawing on dead Jack-O-Lanterns:



Every day is a party at Casa del McKitterick!

EDIT: Speaking of urban-wildlife fun, check out this amazing photo-filled post of my Dreamwidth friend Haruka hand-feeding chickadees. SRSLY!

Chris

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
clevermanka
Nov. 16th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
OMG URBAN WILDLIFE LOVE.
mckitterick
Nov. 16th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
I wish I'd made a video.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Nov. 16th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
They LOVE pumpkin. Helps fatten 'em up, as you might be able to tell by the chubbs in the pic.
weaselmom
Nov. 16th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
OK, you have me beat - I've only counted 8 at a time! What are you going to do about your feeder? There are a million squirrel-proofing ideas and products, but I don't know if any of them work. My squirrels are too fat to eat anything that isn't already on the ground. I am impressed that yours ate the pumpkin! Mine didn't touch the pumpkin I put out. They lifted the chunks to see if there was anything better underneath.

Something is eating all my seed - might be flickers. I have a Clingers Only feeder covered by a Dinner Bell for the little birds. I fill it in the morning and it's empty when I come home. WHAT EATS 24 OUNCES OF SEED IN ONE DAY??? D:
mckitterick
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
I've tried everything to keep squirrels out of the feeder, all to no avail. Hell, I put a 3-foot-wide dome over it once! They're, shall we say, a bit agile. It's fun watching them get around obstacles, of course, but a pain to refill the feeder so decorated.

Mine LOVE the pumpkins! At least some of them do; maybe it's an individual-taste thing. I should take a close-up of the horror-show that is gnawed Jack-O-Lantern.

What eats that much? Urban wildlife is what. If I put out a cup of seed in the morning, by noon it's gone. For ideas, see photos, above.
weaselmom
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
I wonder if you'd have more success with a pole feeder with a baffle (unless there's no place in your yard free from overhanging branches, roofs, and other launching points)? Or one of the feeders that close down the feeding ports if a lard-ass squirrel lands on it.

Except for flickers and starlings, I don't have enough large-bird traffic to eat 24 freaking ounces of food a day! Maybe I'll try to watch this weekend and see just what the hell goes on around there when I'm at work. It's possible bigger birds are trying to access the feeder and tipping it, spilling seed onto the deck where it gets eaten by juncos.

Remind me - are any of your squirrels hand-tame? Will they eat from your hand? I was walking the backyard with an arborist recently and it was kind of embarrassing being trailed by jays and squirrels, with Athos putting his paw on my leg when we'd stop. I think you'd really enjoy feeding your crew this way.
mckitterick
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
I would LOVE to hand-feed my squirrels (as my Dreamwidth friend Haruka hand-feeds chickadees), but I'm worried that they'd get themselves in trouble with squirrel-haters or otherwise get too fearless of humans. I mean, geez, already some of them hang out as I walk past.

I used to hand-feed squirrels in my Dad's Minneapolis back yard, and it's a highlight of my youth.

Edited at 2011-11-16 09:32 pm (UTC)
weaselmom
Nov. 16th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
I was worried about that too. I know they'll approach my next-door neighbor if he's out on his deck, but I don't think they're jumping up on his knee. The neighbors don't do much with their backyard, but it's also lovely habitat. I yearn to get my hands on it. They have been tolerant of my hobby, even though my hawthorn tree* was practically scraping their siding before we had it pruned this month (see "arborist" above) and the squirrels use it to access their roof and stroll around. Your neighbors may take a dimmer view.

*Arborist says it's the biggest hawthorn he's seen. English, fairly invasive. I'd have it removed except it's actually valuable habitat - we get nests in it and everybody eats the berries.
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
The hawthorn sounds wonderful! I want to grow more trees before all mine turn old and die. This despite the fact that some have now grown so high and broad that they block out most of my beloved sky.
silverfae
Nov. 18th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)

I have a bird feeder similar to this that I got at Earl May. The sell them at Ace Hardware too, for those of you not local.
The whole outer cage drops down if a squirrel climbs on it, and they can't get into the top either. They tried for a week or so, and finally lost interest.

I've had gangs of sparrows come through and decimate a feeder until I started chasing them off. Then I changed to safflower seed only because the grackles, who were also chowing down the whole feederful, don't like it.

carmy_w
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
You can get the birds to eat from your hands without standing out there for hours on end. Make a scarecrow with a cup that you put seeds in. Nothing fancy, but it does have to look fairly human. Put on a cap, and coat, that you can later take off and wear. Leave it out in the yard for several days, till the birds are used to it, and will come down & feed from the cup as soon as you fill it.

Once you've got them to that point, bring the scarecrow into the shed, take the cap & coat off of it, put them on, and carry out the cup of feed. Walk out & make yourself comfortable in approximately the same position as the scarecrow, and wait. They'll fly right down and eat out of your hands/the cup.
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
WOWEE! Thank you for the tip - I'm going to try this!
carmy_w
Nov. 17th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
Welcome!

My mom gets all those various magazines associated with "Taste of Home." I read an article on it in one of them several years ago.

And WHAT A CUTE ICON! Is that a baby coyote??
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
That's a baby fox, one of the family who lives in my neighborhood! The now-grown-up foxes usually wander the streets around bartime. Makes you wonder if they show up in the taverns disguised as humans.
silverfae
Nov. 18th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
OH "Like"
Plus 1
and all that!!
carmy_w
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
We had one old curmudgeon in our neighborhood that disappeared all the squirrels for several years. He said he live trapped them & released them out in the country, but who knows?
Apparently, he quit doing it, because we've got nests in our local trees again. Which, frankly, are necessary, because my town has more nut trees than you would believe, and I'd much rather have squirrels eating them than skunks & opossums!
miischelle
Nov. 16th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
SQUIRRELS!
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
HOORAY SQUIRRELS!
mongrelheart
Nov. 16th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
Wow, them critters are seriously plump!
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
I do my best to help them prepare for the Kansas winter.
bogwitch64
Nov. 16th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should have this little one and her dog over for tea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjQ-DBiO894
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
OMG! Maybe not the dog, though....
weaselmom
Nov. 17th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Oh hey, swing by my joynt and see the news! Technically old news, but previously unannounced.
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Hooray and CUTENESS!
normalcyispasse
Nov. 17th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Damn, I miss squirrels.
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 05:45 am (UTC)
I loves them. They are my Precious. I will hug them and squeeze them and call them George.
karin_gastreich
Nov. 17th, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC)
lol -- I just know they're sneaking into the house at night to make use of the telescope, too...
mckitterick
Nov. 17th, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
They'd need to pile up several tall to see in the eyepiece. Well, unless they clung to the tube, of course.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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