CRAZY SQUIRRELS AND PUSHY DOVES
There’s a lot going on in and around our deck. The squirrels are freaking out, the doves are pushing smaller birds out of the way (doves? really?), and I’m pretty sure raccoons and flying squirrels are hitting the feeders after the lights are out.
First, the picture:
I fill one of the two flat feeders with cracked corn. It’s not a favorite of any of the birds, but it is a favorite of the squirrels and chipmunks. And, as it turns out, doves. So yesterday, one little squirrel was planted in the feeder on the left which is the one without the corn. I rapped on the window in the kitchen to suggest he might want to move along before he ate all the seed. He looked at me, obviously thought about it for a while, and went back to eating. Clearly I had terrified another wild creature.
A few minutes later, I looked outside and that same squirrel had moved to the feeder with the corn. I approved and went back to doing the dishes while watching the action in the backyard. Well, that same squirrel who had previously ignored me looked up and saw me at the sink and freaked out.
He ejected from that feeder so fast it detached from the hook and was left dangling by one wire. He then stood on the railing and stared at me. He didn’t move. I called to Garry to come over. “You see that squirrel? He just completely freaked out and is now sitting on the rail staring at me like he’s never seen me before.”
“He knocked the feeder over,” Garry pointed out.
“Yes, but at least it’s still hanging and we don’t have to go all the way down into the yard to reattach it.”
“Well,” said Garry, “He’ll just have to cope because I’m going out there to fix the feeder before the next crazy squirrel knocks it into the woods.”
Faced with a real human on deck, the squirrel made a hasty retreat to the lawn and thence the woods. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I can’t figure out if it’s one squirrel that’s one nut over the line who freaks out every time he sees my face or if this is personal. Squirrels suddenly find me terrifying? How come they don’t find me terrifying when I yell at them to get out of the feeder?
Usually, they ignore me. In fact, they do everything except thumb their furry little noses at me. It’s only when I’m in the kitchen they notice me and freak out. I don’t have an answer. I’m not even sure what the question is.
Meanwhile, doves — the most passive and not the brightest — of our bigger backyard birds, have decided by sheer number and bulk to throw their weight around. Let me point out that doves are not pushy, assertive, or aggressive. They just aren’t. Their first cousins, the city pigeons, can be a bit aggressive, but these woodsy Mourning Doves are peaceful.
This week, The doves decided the Brown-headed Cowbirds are eating too much and are literally pushing the cowbirds out of the flat feeders. Cowbirds are aggressive and I didn’t think anything could push them out of the feeders, but the doves are doing it. They just keep pushing until the cowbirds more or less fall out of the feeder. We have MANY doves. Many many doves.
Usually, doves are among the shyest of birds. They will disappear if there is even a hint of someone thinking about coming to the deck. Now, though, they roost in the feeders. I think they’d nest and raise their young there too if those darn Blue Jays would stop getting in their way.