This blog entry contains the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus).
I know that many people see squirrels out in the open and up close on a regular basis, particularly in some more urban areas. But not here. Here at my home, squirrels sometimes play at the edge of the woods. But they do not come into the yard. But this year’s drastic food shortage in our area has pushed an astonishing number of squirrels out into the open. Hundreds, if not thousands, of them are dying on our local roads and highways from getting hit crossing the roads in a desperate attempt to locate food for the winter. I’ve heard that DNR officials say the mast (the squirrels nut & berry food stock) is the lowest they have ever seen in WV the 40 years that they have been tracking it. A few areas are close to normal levels, but most aren’t. Some are predicting that by next year we will have less than one half of the squirrel population that we currently have, due to die off from lack of food, and a lower birth rate due to lack of food. They say the mast here locally is almost non-existent.
We generally don’t buy any sort of wild animal feed. It is simply out of our budget. But after seeing these little guys coming and looking around so desperately, my husband and I discussed trying to help them out at least here at the house. We only talked about it for a moment and the next day he surprised me with a 100 pound bag of whole corn! He said that he went by the feed store and the 100 pound bag was only $2.00 more than the teeny tiny bag, so he bought the big one.
Being whole corn it is basically too big for the birds. But is perfect for squirrels.
So far we’ve had 3 regular visitors. For purposes of keeping them straight I refer to them as the light one, the calm one, and the grumpy one. The light one is very fine boned and tiny and I believe female. She is very shy. And her entire underside is bright white. Which is kind of interesting. And her top coat is lighter than normal as well. The calm one is just your average squirrel, in looks and behavior. The grumpy one loves to flip his tail and bark at me. Over and over and over again while giving me dirty looks. Which is why I call him the grumpy one. 🙂
I took a lot of photos today. Here they are:
This is the one I have dubbed “the calm one”.
I have an overwhelming desire to label the above photo with the caption “Darn ragweed!” 😉
I know that’s how the ragweed pollen makes me feel.
Mid pounce. Cuz you know… corn is fast! LOL!
He actually looks fat from this angle. He’s not at all. None of them are.
I think the shot above is the best one of the day.
Now for the grumpy one:
This one wouldn’t come any further than the stump at the edge of the woods that had some corn on it. And he kept shooting me grumpy looks and barking at me. It was cute.
I really like the photo above because of what it shows. I have always found the way in which squirrels flip their tail when they bark interesting. Notice how still the bottom of his tail is, and yet the top is in full twist. A lot of people think they just flip it up and down when barking, but they actually twist and flip it. And I think it is cool that this photo captured that motion.
Below is the light colored, shy one:
The photo caught her mid blink.
Now what happened next was funny.
Enter the Eastern Chipmunk.
I couldn’t get good photos of him, as he was moving about too much. But he ran onto the first tree stump and started fussing. Apparently this area falls into what he feels is his territory. (Chipmunks are quite territorial.) And he goes about trying to frighten the squirrels off. Now the idea of that sounds funny. But it worked!
The squirrels who had only taken mild notice of me (except for the grumpy one) were extremely alarmed by the angry chipmunk. It was rather comical to watch. I’m quite certain this wouldn’t have happened if this were the squirrel’s normal area. But I think it had a lot to do with the fact that they were not terribly comfortable out in this new area to them, to start with. The grumpy one bolted off into the woods immediately. Even the calm one, stood at attention (as you can see above) and then ran away from the chipmunk.
Better hurry! The chipmunk is going to get you! LOL 🙂
A good 20 feet away, the little light one also ran in terror from the big bad upset chipmunk.
She watched from her frightened perch on the tree, while the chipmunk sat and finished off the last of the corn on the stump.
He finished off the last of the corn that was out on the stump, then sat there shooting all of them looks. Then he ran off back from the direction that he came.
Eventually the little light squirrel came back out again.
And that’s all for today.
Thanks for visiting the blog!
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