BIRDS OF MY WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

Nope, not part of a challenge. It’s merely that I have so many pictures of birds taken this week, I figure I ought to share them.

I have a new bird book. I broke my vow and ordered the long lens for my Olympus OMD — which cost more than the camera cost — but it’s the only game in town and I really need to use the camera that I can focus.

I don’t see a lot of squirrels in the feeder, but by the volume of disappearing food, I’m betting they get there, eat a lot, and disappear. Probably to take a long nap in a tall tree.

Can’t forget the squirrels!
Goldfinch waiting for his pals

In the course of this week, the various flocks of Goldfinch (Magnolia, American, et al) have totally taken over the feeder. They fly around it in flocks. Somehow, a few Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and various woodpeckers drop by, but mostly … lots and lots of Goldfinch.

One mourning dove
A couple of birds. Face forward, please. I can’t tell what you are from your tail feathers!

Oh, and about the Juncos. I have a few that are so fat, I’m surprised they can still fly.

My favorite Chickadee
Cutest house finch

Today, the feeder was pretty close to empty. My son has other stuff going on and I didn’t want to bother him, so I figured “How long can it take to fill a bird feeder?” Owen does it in two minutes.

Four Goldfinches (one is mostly behind the feeder)
Still flying, they grab a seed and go for the trees!

But you see, he’s well over six feet tall and I am just barely hitting five feet. I couldn’t reach the feeder. I dragged out something to stand on, but it was too tall and I was afraid I’d ruin my future by falling off the deck head first, so finally, I turned it sideways and stood crookedly on its legs. Not very comfortable — or steady.

A Red-Bellied Woodpecker
A lonely Nuthatch

And it turns out that this bird feeder holds five pounds of food. Maybe more. It’s a lot of food. A lot more food than you think. Like … tubs of it. Maybe that’s why the Juncos are so fat? Also, some of the Goldfinch look pretty well-rounded too.

The gallant Tufted Titmouse

Eventually, they will all just sit on my deck waiting for the goodies. Unable to fly. Just sitting like little, feathered cupcakes.

I think even the squirrels are bloated.

Is it possible that I am over-feeding my wild creatures?

And finally, just so you don’t think I’m delusional, this is a picture of my Pileated Woodpecker. It’s blurry, but I think it’s definitely that big woodpecker. I’m hoping one day, he’ll drop by and hang around long enough for me to take a picture that has … you know … edges.

No matter what they say on television, you cannot take a tiny piece of a picture, blow it up, and get a nice clear image. It doesn’t work.

SPEAKING OF SQUIRRELS, A LITTLE DIY FOR YOUR SPARE TIME – Marilyn Armstrong

Need something to do with all that spare time?

This one was a beer advertisement!

Your weekends are boring? No problem. Try building the DOUBLE SQUARE SQUIRREL ASSAULT COURSE and learn what crazy really means in the world of the squirrel!

THE SQUIRREL WHO WOULDN’T LEAVE – Marilyn Armstrong

When I bought a second, flat feeder, I knew the squirrels would enjoy it.

You can’t not feed the squirrels unless you live somewhere where there are no squirrels and where might that be? The best you can do is put up feeders which the squirrels won’t destroy.

Let’s hope the bears don’t show up.


So the hanging feeder is metal and guaranteed to survive attacking squirrels and the flat feeder basically says “Come one, come all.”

It took the squirrels about a week to discover the feeders. After that, it took another 48 hours to recognize I am a mere, powerless homeowner. So no matter what I tell them, they don’t have to go.

It’s something about me, I suppose. Garry says I’m a softie and everyone (everything) knows it. The first time I saw a fat squirrel sitting in the flat feeder, I tapped on the window and he was so surprised, he fell onto the deck and hit the stairs at a run.

Times change.

This morning I got up and there was a smaller (girl?) squirrel settled into the flat feeder munching down about two pounds of corn and sunflower seeds. I tapped on the window. She looked me squarely in the eyes and dove back into the goodies. I tapped again. She ignored me completely.

I finally opened the door and said: “Hey, Squirrel Girl, move your butt outta there.” She looked at me and I swear it could have been Bonnie giving me the same look. She took another mouthful of corn and didn’t even twitch.

“I said move it on out. You’ve had enough. Leave something for the other guests.”

No movement. She sat there munching corn. She had a calculating look, the same one I get from the dogs. “How fast can she really run? What’s she gonna do anyhow? Hey, this corn is yummy.”

So I finally went out onto the deck and said: “Run for it, squirrel, or you’re going to be MY dinner.” Very slowly, she emerged from the feeder, climbed down the upright and sat on the railing. Looking at me. I said, “Go. I mean it.”

She walked — slowly — to the top of the stairs and sat there. I approached. She went down a couple of steps. I stomped on the deck. She went down two more steps. I waved my hands around and finally, she left. It was obvious the moment I wasn’t there, she’d be back. Even if I am there, she will still be back. There are fearless squirrels in my forest.

“Are you going to give her a name?” Garry asked.

Goodbye! Actually, she was jumping INTO the flat feeder, not out of it.

This squirrel is not a visitor. She has moved in. She is now one of the kids and will expect high-quality victuals from this day forward.

Showing Our Appreciation

Somehow, it’s so appropriate that today is squirrel appreciation day. I’m not sure why, but it is. This is a holiday I can wrap my brain around!

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Woohoo!  It's our day!!!!  OUR DAY!!!!!! Woohoo! It’s our day!!!! Just for us!!!

For the first time since I started the feature in the Fall of 2012, my weekly Saturday Squirrel post coincides with the biggest sciurine holiday of them all, National Squirrel sqturday squirrel logoAppreciation Day!  Celebrated every January 21st since 2001, it is a time for reflecting on the many positive qualities squirrels bring to our lives.  It is a time to love the species rather than curse its existence.  It is a time to celebrate the happiness and joy that we humans can get from these very special arboreal critters that can be found almost everywhere on earth!

The Nest will honor this most glorious occasion by recalling some of our favorite Saturday Squirrels from the past, so you can get to appreciate their beauty and humor one more time!  And we may as well start with the squirrel who appears in every Saturday post…

View original post 554 more words

IT’S NATIONAL SQUIRREL DAY! MEET PROJECT SQUIRREL!

Become a Citizen Scientist. Click the link to read about Project Squirrel and to tell us about squirrels near you. Project Squirrel has been operating since 1997. During this time, over 1000 people have offered their knowledge, provided observations, and filled out the forms. We have been able to learn a great deal about these squirrels, particularly in the Chicago Metropolitan Region. Observations from other parts of the country have also been welcome and interesting.

Source: www.projectsquirrel.org

In honor of National Squirrel Day …. What, you didn’t know? Well, today is National Squirrel Day. Project Squirrel gives you the opportunity to participate in … well … watching squirrels. Taking pictures of squirrels. And sharing your squirrel stuff with other squirrelly people.

Happy National Squirrel Day!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

THE SILENCE OF THE …

Bedroom light

Sunrise. The first rays of the sun sneak through the trees, then slither through the bedroom window. Why does our bedroom face east? I love sunlight, but not quite so early.

Ah the peace, the tranquility of living in the country. No cars, no sirens. Just the whisper of wind … and … what’s that? Birds? Sweet singers … what? Is that a crow? A blue jay? What is that screeching out there? Squirrels? What is it, squirrel versus bird Armageddon? What’s going on out there.

Walk, walk, walk. Open window. Peer out. Holy Moly! It really is the squirrels against the birds and they seem to be battling over possession of … our deck? What, with a zillion acres of woods, you guys are fighting over our deck? It’s OUR deck. You can’t have it. Neither of you.

“Hey,” I shout, “Shut up. Go home. Fight somewhere else.”

Squawk, screech, ark, screeeech!!

And from the rear, I hear the sound I dread, a dog singing. It’s our little dachshund, shrieking in an ear-splitting soprano. Hark! Is that a deeper call?

Yes, Bishop, the big heap of fur Aussie is chiming in. Now, another voice is heard. One of the terriers (Bonnie? Nan?) has added her sweet voice to the chorus. It’s downright majestic.

Bishop

It’s 6 in the morning. I didn’t fall asleep until after three. Why do you guys hate me? I’m the one who gives you cookies. Don’t I get a little credit for that?

“Hey, shush. Settle down.”

But instead, the melodious howls change to yaps, barks, woofs. They want me to get up and give them cookies. Now please. They are starving, so hungry they can barely stay upright on their weak little paws.

My husband is sleeping soundly. He is deaf and his hearing aids are not in while he sleeps, so he hears nothing. Good night, sweet prince.

I love the quiet, the soft silence of the countryside. Don’t you?

Sunrise and Sunset, Emily Dickenson

96-Sunrise and Sunset-EmilyDickenson