Tailing it out of there
Monday March 26th 2012, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Wildlife

Found another Frazz comic that made me laugh. (Well, they all do, but hey. Birds.)

Saw something new today: a squirrel with its nose pressing hard against the wooden box, squeezing its pointy little face as far as it could go underneath, right next to one of the 2x2s the box is resting on (ie as far from me as it could get while trying this). Two inch space: the final frontier.

That’s where I occasionally toss food for my wrens when they’re being shut out by the bigger, more assertive birds: only the Bewick’s will dash into that tight, dark space, and even they have to duck their tails down. Not even the chickadees explore there. Perfect.

As I’ve mentioned before, northern California is the only area left where those wrens have a healthy population and I am determined to take good care of mine. They are the tiniest birds with the biggest burst of song, many songs.

That left black paw was just about to sweep and grab to try to finish the job. I’d seen dog fur already shaped into a circle vigorously disappearing under there before with a wren going at it; there might well be an active nest and I didn’t know how far back it was.

Ooh, tasty nestlings!

Boundaries clearly needed to be reestablished and my initial foot stomp and loud GIT! wasn’t going to cut it. Time to bring out the big guns.

I have a bright red shopping bag, about as tall as an inquisitive big Fox squirrel, with twine tied to its handle at one end, and I set it up coming in at the side of the glass door with the twine tied to a cardboard tube at my end for a nice handle. I put some beat up store-bought pie crust tins and random broken ceramic bits in it for a nice noisemaker effect and to keep it anchored in the breeze.

(I know. What would Scott say. I bought the pie crusts.)

The door was closed. I was inside, innocent as could be.  Waited.

Took awhile. A black one and a clearly pregnant gray (yeah, I saw what you two were doing the other day, so do we get to see speckled squirrels? Palominos? As close as I’ll get to my childhood wish for a pony.) They took turns on the patio for awhile, and finally both were there at once and it was getting a bit crowded under the feeder. So one sniffed, then took cautious, tentative steps where it knew that peanut-suet crumble was hiding….

BAM! That bag was outside right there close to them–it came flying and crashing and those two marauders nearly risked a sonic boom. Just missed crashing into each other, too.

If I had to spend all afternoon working out the math on a pattern I’d thought was already ready to go (well, it is now), a bit of squirrel fishing certainly brightened the day.

But I would love to be able to do what a member of the peregrine forum told me she does: she buys mealworms at Los Gatos Birdwatcher, then throws them in the air and the waiting phoebes see her and catch them! Wow.

And you know who the cleanup crew would be.  It’s only fair.

8 Comments so far
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You clearly know how to have fun! And save the birds, too. The comic reminds me of taking preschoolers on an ecology walk to pick up litter. The teacher pointed out cigarette butts. That’s the only thing the kids talked about the rest of the day. “Teacher said…..”

Comment by DebbieR 03.26.12 @ 11:26 pm

I get some bird visitors to my yard whose name I will not mention in a polite lady’s blog.

Comment by LynnM 03.27.12 @ 4:21 am

My husband knew nothing about birds and when I identified a titmouse for him, he was clearly shocked, then asked me to spell it….

Comment by Abby 03.27.12 @ 5:56 am

Aren’t you just the most creative person ever? Such a good idea.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 03.27.12 @ 6:29 am

You’re having so much boundaries training success with the wildlife that I want to send Sissy to visit. (Remember?! She’s the dog that sent this former canine obedience handler back to school… and she still doesn’t acknowledge boundaries.)

Comment by Channon 03.27.12 @ 7:17 am

There you are — Alison, The Great Defender!

Comment by Don Meyer 03.27.12 @ 8:42 am

I’m looking forward to those hybrid squirrels. I just signed up for a class on sheep color genetics – I don’t believe they were offering one on squirrel color genetics.

Comment by twinsetellen 03.27.12 @ 7:05 pm

how do you tell if it’s pregnant? my squirrels just look fat. also, can you tell the difference between male and female by the tufty bits on their ears?

Comment by Tola 03.27.12 @ 7:53 pm

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