Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wildlife in the Front Yard

I've always enjoyed the wildlife that we attract.  Mom puts out food in squirrel proof bird feeders, and then because she wanted to attract deer she started putting out corn - which the squirrels find to be quite tasty.  When a hawk showed up in the vicinity of the bird feeder, I offered to chase him off with a shotgun, but Mom wouldn't hear of it.

"They have to eat too, Jack.  After all, I never shot you for eating, did I?"

No, but when I turned 12 Dad installed a lock on the liquor cabinet and made a big deal out of it.  I guess he thought I was stealing his liquor.  I wasn't.  I was stealing Grandma Bourbon's liquor.

Anyway, I counted 14 squirrels at the corn the other day.  Word seems to get around and more squirrels show up all the time, and I fully expect that given the moral turpitude of the average squirrel, we should have a bumper crop by August.

Yesterday we had a brand new visitor, attracted by the squirrel population.

Mister Fox made his way from the back yard, through the side yard and out to the front of the house.  On his arrival, the squirrels sought safety in the trees.

Mr. Fox
Mr. Fox wasn't nearly quick enough to catch any of the fat, well-fed squirrels, so he immediately reclined near the food and didn't move a muscle, except to slowly turn his head every so often.  What good is that?  The squirrels know he's here.

Mr. Fox at Rest
You will note the squirrel up in the tree just behind Mr. Fox.  The squirrel spoke very disrespectfully to Mr. Fox in squirrel language.  Mr. Fox took no notice.

Mr. Fox Not Paying Attention
Mr. Fox lay motionless like this for about 20 minutes.  During that time I learned that while squirrels have good instincts as well as great reflexes, they aren't all that bright.  A few came down to escape into the forest across the road.  The fox didn't even flinch.  Clearly, the fox poses no threat to anything.

Irate Squirrel
There were two others that looked the situation over and slowly made their way back to the food... on the ground.  Which is where the fox is.

Foolish Irate Squirrel
This squirrel came very close to providing Mr. Fox with sustenance for himself and his Misses.  Very close.  The fox judged that the squirrel was within striking range and made his move, but the squirrel was just a little too close to the tree.

Mr. Fox is Awake
After missing his kill, the fox trotted back into the back yard where he hadn't been seen in a while.  There's a fence that the squirrels like to use to get from the front to the back, and I suspect that the fox likes to use the fence as well.  After about 20 minutes Mr. Fox returned with a small, brown animal in his jaws.  He passed through the front yard and went into the forest.  Last I saw of him, he was headed North.

I think I may rearrange the grain piles a little - just to make things fair, you understand.

1 comment:

CWMartin said...

Squirrels like to mess with their predators. They used to do that to Scrappy, until he learned that the best way to deal with a squirrel in just ignore him.