June 13, 2011

The squirrels may have found the bird feeder

Ya think?
Yup, there he is, sitting pretty in a bunch of food. This is one happy squirrel. This feeder hangs on one of my windows and even if I tap on the glass, he just goes on eating. This behavior is new. I saw it for the first time today.

I'm feeding a ton of birds now. The word has gotten out and the crowd grows by the day. There's always change out there. For instance, the baby geese are almost adults already. Their feathers are taking on typical geese patterning. It's sweet to see.

There are also two new, tiny babies. This is a fuzzy photo but you get the idea: little balls of fluff walking around. Plus I've got ducks now, six of them. I swear, the menagerie grows and grows.

What's most interesting is how each bird has its own perceptions and species-specific tools. For instance, some birds throw caution to the wind. They don't worry about their own safety. They just hop on a feeder and munch away.

Others are cagey. Some sit backwards in the feeder so they can keep an eye out and fly away in an emergency. They have to bend their necks back to eat. Others bring a friend so one can eat while the other perches backwards to watch for predators. One species (the common grackle) even stands on top of the feeder and puts its head close to the window to see if I'm there before he'll eat. It's fascinating to observe these differences in behavior.

By the way, geese are smart. They understand what I say in the same way the dog understands what I say. They get what I mean, and do so easily. I find this beyond amazing. I can literally call them to me and they come. And they won't come unless I call. If they start to come and I don't want them to, all I have to do is say "no" and put my hands up -- and they stop! They actually understand -- and it's not like I've been out there training them. Bizarre.

It's a lift to wake up and see them out there waiting for me each morning. That is so cool.

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

Nice story, makes me miss my squirrels and other creature from my first house in Missouri - 1990. It backed up to a wooded area and I fed the birds and squirrels and anything else that wandered by.

A mother deer often would drop off her child for the day in the safe environment of the ivy-covered grounds.

When I lived at my last place with the geese, the groundskeeper of the golf course had a major problem with the geese. Seems they preferred the greens to anywhere else to poop.

They tried everything to dissuade and get rid of these birds. Fences, netting, annoying shot-gun blasts (not aimed at the birds!) everything. The geese, as no surprise, won out and remain at their old-found home.