Monday, January 12, 2009

Squirrel roundup

It's been a long fallow period for squirrel news. Then last week came and squirrel updates were all over the place. First, the New York Times covered the ongoing conflict between red squirrels and non-native gray squirrels in Britain and that the Brits are now dining on the indomitable grays. The European red squirrel, by the way, has ear tufts like the Abert's squirrel of the American Southwest.

Then a report came across of an acorn shortage in Illinois and Indiana that is affecting the squirrel population. Local squirrels are behaving even more brazenly than before, this from a genus that produced a creature that once slurped from a disposed cheese cup in my front yard.

Finally, in other wildlife news, a black bear has been seen in northwestern Illinois, the heart of the driftless area, at least a couple hundred miles from where it should be in Wisconsin.


Karla said...

Last Saturday I observed a squirrel,who managed to open a metal suet cage, struggle to carry off a whole square of suet I'd put in the cage only a day before. I watched as he walked along the fence and escape out of sight. He was brazen! The squirrels feed from my seed feeders and now the suet feeders despite my efforts to stop them. Fortunately, there seems to be enough for the birds too. But I do have to fill up the feeders more often when feeding the four legged critters too.

Erika said...

In our yard, the little red squirrels kick gray squirrel ass. It's a lot of fun to watch the solitary fierce little bugger herd the bigger gray ones around, chattering furiously.

We also put our Christmas gingerbread houses (we had 6 miniature ones that A and S made together) out under the birdfeeder and around the yard for the squirrels to eat. I suggested that this might be considered abuse to squirrels (lots of sugar and artificial coloring), but A said that if urban squirrels can handle fake cheese (as you observed), they can handle gingerbread and sugar. The houses disappeared quickly, though one is now wedged into our metal sculpture "The World." It's quite a sight.

Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sportsshrike said...

I love brazen squirrels! We should set up squirrel-only feeders that dispense unhealthy food. I know they would eat a Slim Jim but I'm not sure about a gyro, for example.