Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday March 2019: The Squirrel's Tale

It's Wildlife Wednesday and for March 2019 we have a garden mystery solved.

My curiosity was piqued when I spotted a number of freshly trimmed green-leaved oak twigs on the ground.  Dropped branches and twigs typically turn brown before the wind or age takes them out.  But not these.

It took several weeks to identify the perp as a Fox squirrel newly moved in among the oaks above our deck.

I had heard her chattering whenever we went outside.

She also fussed at the cat daily.  The cat didn't care.

She has definitely taken over the territory.

Those twigs on the ground were the product of nest building.  She scampered along the limbs to a suitable twig and gnawed around it with her teeth.

After acquiring the twig she ran back along the branch and climbed high into the tree to add it to her nest.  (She's camera shy so I couldn't get a good shot of her with a twig.)  If the twig dropped along the way she just started over leaving the lost twig on the ground below.  From the looks of all the dropped twigs, I think she must have lost half of them.

We had fun observing all this activity.  It's been a while since we've had squirrels in the garden.  Both male and female squirrels build the nest though I'm pretty sure we mostly saw the female.

Apparently squirrels can damage trees by chewing bark although we won't miss a few small twigs.

Last month I showed our squirrel friend going after the bird feeder.

She broke the dome (it was brittle from the sun) and we need a replacement.  In the meantime we decided to try recycling plastic bottles.  She managed to get down the wire but couldn't perch on the feeder with the new topper there.  So she decided to go back up--not so easy.  She caught her head inside the top piece and tried to push it up.  After a short time she dropped to railing below and scampered off.

We haven't seen her at the feeder since!

"You lookin' at me?"

In deer news, the Whitetail bucks will drop their antlers ahead of new fawns arriving this spring.  Would love to find these on the ground.  It's not easy since they often drop antlers in the brush and smaller mammals will haul them off to chew for mineral content.

Wildlife Wednesday is hosted by Tina at "My gardener says..." on the first Wednesday of each month.  You can read more about wildlife in the garden by checking out the comments on her blog or, even better, participate by posting about wildlife in your own garden.