Sunday, December 05, 2010

Competition for the Birds

We've always had a lot of Fox Squirrels in our yards and they've always spent a lot of time trying to get seed from our bird feeders. Sometimes they've succeeded, sometimes they've failed, and sometimes they've wrecked feeders in the process. Over the past year or two, though, our yards have been taken over by the smaller Gray Squirrels. These generally leave the feeders alone but they are quick to find and devour any other food they can find in the yards.

I smear peanut butter on fences and trellises for the birds and this has always attracted lots of species, from Northern Mockingbirds to Yellow-rumped Warblers. Unfortunately, any peanut butter I put out these days is usually gobbled up by Gray Squirrels before any birds have a chance to reach it. Oh, well, I suppose squirrels need to eat, too.

And they can even be quite decorative at times. 

Yesterday I was sitting at our livingroom window hoping to get a photo of our Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I noticed a movement in the wisteria that grows up our garden shed. Here comes the Kinglet. But no. It was a large rat.

This rat (or maybe there are several) lives in the brush pile I've created beside our shed and it somehow survives in spite of the hours that one of our cats and a neighbor's cat spend trying to catch it. While not as pretty as our birds or even as our squirrels, it has a certain charm of its own.


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