Saturday, October 30, 2010

The "kittens"

* the "kittens" *
Leaf wrangling progress is slow due to days upon days of high winds.  So I've been cleaning up beds, pulling up spent plants, cutting down stalks, etc.  I endure the wind until I feel too battered, call it a day and retreat to the calm air of the house.

The birds and squirrels are stuffing their little faces at the feeder.  I was lucky to get these 2 particular squirrels chowing down on the cracked corn in the birdseed.

I call this pair "the kittens".  In Spring there was a bumper crop of baby squirrels to all 3 types: the fox, grey and black squirrels.  Sure made for fun watching!  Early on I noticed that a black mother was always followed by both a black and a grey.  She tolerated both of their antics, allowing them to tease and chase her and scolded both when they overstepped.

After a couple of months they were on their own, but not alone.  One was never seen without the other. They've played, chased, tumbled and fed together ever since. Of all the other squirrels born this year, I've not seen even 'real' litter mates hang out with each other. But these 2 are inseparable, have a real bond.

There's not a day goes by that they don't do something that makes me chuckle, whether it's hide-n-seek around a tree trunk, rolling around in a pile of mulch (taking turns while the other watches), trying to see who can jump the highest from a standstill and other squirrel-ly antics. They even nap together.

While the 2 previous posts show that I do love having the hawks in the area, it's hard to not get a little fearful for the kittens when I hear a ladyhawke scream.  Should anything happen to one of the kittens, I'm quite sure the other would suffer from the loss.

I wonder how these 2 will fare through the coming winter. I have no idea of their respective sexes or if they will build a good winter shelter nest and share it. They are such a joy to have in the gardens and I would really miss them if they didn't live a long and happy life.


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10 comments:

  1. Iowa has black squirrels in only two places. They are on each southern corner of Iowa along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. I lived in Sidney, Iowa, southwest corner of the state and the black squirrel is all that existed in the town. Your photo of the kittens are so cute.

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  2. All I have ever seen in our yard are red squirrels. I didn't know there was such a thing as black squirrels and have seen one.

    We have begun putting feed out for anything yet.

    I was shocked to see the price for black oil sunflowers seed has gone from $10 to $16!

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  3. Hi Larry. When I first moved to Canton in 1979 there weren't any black squirrels here. But since then they've migrated south from Kent. I'm not sure where the Eastern Grey Squirrels migrated from. They all seem to get along and have seen between 9 and 15 eating outside in the mornings.

    Glenda, I once had a pregnant North American Red Squirrel get into my walls and raise a litter of 4. That was one nightmare, I'll tell you! Since then I've only seen them once or twice (at a distance) in the past 4 years.

    I feed all year 'round. Sometimes I put out bread and am lucky enough to entice the crows down for a visit. I really like crows.

    Yeah, seed ain't cheap. I never feed plain oilseed, but add it to the common birdseed and everyone seems happy with it.

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  4. I've only noticed one kind of squirrel, too. They were brown-ish. They were the bane of my existence at the Ponca house. They picked the fruit off my trees and buried walnuts from the tree in the park, in my raised beds. I had to barricade my raised beds after I had things planted or they would dig them up. We couldn't feed the birds without them taking over the feeder. And we couldn't have a wooden birdhouse because they'd just chew the hole bigger and then have their families there. When we were working on the rental house we found a huge nest in the attic, a stash of pecans (too old to be any good) under the floor and they nibbled on some of the electrical wires. I haven't actually seen any here, but I have heard them squealing and chipping in the distance. I'm sure there are some living in the trees around Charlie and Gail's place.

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  5. Got here through Jean's Garden. Greetings from a bee friendly gardener in Illinois.

    Ecological gardening

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  6. Ilene - there's soooo many nut trees in the 'hood that we have lots of squirrels. They don't raid my bird feeders, nor do they eat veggies (since I always keep lots of water available around for them). But boy, if they had opposable thumbs they'd take over the world. LOL

    Hello AAF - thanks for visiting the blog. Hope you've had a good gardening season. :-D

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  7. I have not seen any black squirels on the west side. it's good to see that we're not the only ones who feed all the critters. jim

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  8. I love that you love your squirrels!! Those two are really cute. I'e never understood why people don't like them. I make sure my garden squirrels are fed all winter long. Although the sneak that was digging up my bulbs today and running away with them was frustrating, I admired his ability to remember where I had planted them!

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  9. Jim - Yeah, I used to live in Lakewood (back in the late 70s) and remember only seeing fox squirrels there.

    TS - When the squirrels do do something that annoys me, I remind myself it could be worse. They could be monkeys! I'm sure we wouldn't want that! LOL

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  10. They look cute. Squirrels in your country have furry tails; ours over here don't and so they don't look pretty.
    I'd be more than happy to have a few squirrels coming to my garden. But my dog often gets very upset seeing them!

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