Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's gettin' squirrely out here!

One of the advantages to living in the woods like we do is that you often see really cool things if you keep your eyes and ears open, whether it be a little toad camouflaged in the leaves, some freakishly huge mushroom, or things that go bump (or shriek) in the night.

Of course we're all familiar with the standard grey squirrel - they're standard fixtures of the rural and suburban environment in Ohio. They've actually become quite a nuisance on our property over the last few years, helping themselves to the seed in the feeders that are meant to be for the birds.

A grey squirrel looking cute and innocent, before he hops onto one of the bird feeders for a meal.

I'm sure we're all much less familiar with flying squirrels, which I learned are the most common squirrel in the state of Ohio (thanks again to the Ohio DNR website for the info). These squirrels are nocturnal, so you'd have to be spending some serious time outdoors at night to encounter these little numbers. Or, hope they come to your bird feeders the same way their larger cousins do!

We were first alerted to the presence of the flying squirrel when we heard motion out on one of the bird feeders way after dark. We turned on the porch light, and there it was.

Several nights later, Dave heard activity again, and yelled for me to come look, because now there were two of them! (Sorry about the "devil" eyes - I guess the red-eye reduction feature in the camera doesn't work on animals.)

They really seem to be quite fearless, and I was able to get about an arm's length away from them.

Even with my camera flashing in their faces, they paid no attention to me and stayed focused on the task at hand - emptying our bird feeder.

I was amazed when a third squirrel showed up and made his way on to the feeder. This was getting ridiculous.

As you can see, 3 really IS a crowd.

Eventually there was a little tussle and one of them fell off (no worries, they glide through the air, so no one was hurt). He quickly came back, but went over to the corn, which is what we WANT the squirrels to eat if they must dine at our outdoor critter table!

Caught red-handed.

And enjoying his catch.

Now we hear them chattering out in the dark almost every night, and wake up to empty ears of squirrel corn. I'm sure they've been in our neck of the woods for some time and we just never knew it, but it would seem they are here to stay.

And by the way, this was our entertainment for the evening on July the 4th. Who needs fireworks?

1 comment:

Dave said...

Note the squirrel-proof feeder.