Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Squirrel Gymnastics

The raccoons I wrote about here aren't the only animals active in the garden right now.  The squirrels have also been quite busy.  Thankfully, they're not destructive like the raccoons.  They prefer stealing bird seed to digging up plants searching for bugs.  When the blueberries ripen, they'll move their thievery to my blueberry pots but, for now, they're focused on my supposedly squirrel-proof bird feeders.  Two of the feeders are caged to prevent access by anything other than small birds (although one enterprising juvenile squirrel did manage to gain entry by lifting the top cover).  The third feeder's seed tray closes if anything heavy presses on the lever below it.

The squirrels go to great lengths to thwart the feeder's protective features.

He contemplates his strategy

He maneuvers into position, careful not to press down on the lever when reaching for the seed

The effort requires great balance

Rest is required between each gymnastic exercise

Do you think he worries if he looks fat from behind?

When he's had enough, he climbs on another feeder to contemplate the view (hazy today)

Meanwhile, the fountain, perhaps more appropriately called a bird bath, is also getting a lot of attention right now.

A sparrow dries off after a bath

An Oriole couple are caught splashing about before flying back to the Mimosa tree to preen

Even the hummingbirds occasionally stop their frenetic activity to take a dip

My apologies for the generally poor quality of these pictures.  All were taken through glass from inside the house.  Most of the subjects don't like their activities interrupted by camera-carrying humans.  Some, including several Orioles and Scrub Jays, refused to participate at all.


  1. I would never have guessed these were taken through glass. Compared to some of the other potential garden pests, I'm not too bothered by the wily tree rats. In fact they can be entertaining to watch.

    1. The lazy things are so focused on the bird feeders here they seem to have little time to do damage elsewhere, although I do begrudge them the blueberries...

  2. Enjoyed my visit today. Just found your Blog.

  3. I find that most birds seem to have an adjustable "comfort zone." If you go outside from a distance, perhaps exit from the other side of the house and then stop far enough away to only get a miserable snapshot, give it a few seconds and take one or two more steps forward, take another shot. See how many times you can keep that up. Stay relatively still, don't fumble and if they fly away remain still for a short while... they're probably still watching. Birds, for the most part, seem pretty smart and they come to recognize when you're not posing a threat. The birds you see are your neighbors, they'll get to know you.