Tag Archive | squirrel

Squirrel McDonald’s 

It’s another dreary day here in the Midwest. The clear, bright, new windows we had installed don’t make it look any more friendly outside. It’s February… In Illinois… what do I expect?

Although the day is dreary, I do enjoy watching the gray squirrels taking care of business in the front yard. There are many spruce and large trees in my area, which allows for a large population of these furry, funny entertainers.

February is an exciting time in a gray squirrel’s life… It’s MATING SEASON! Woo hoo! Time to frolic, play, tease, fight, love, share, chase, eat and all other forms of craziness!! You can easily identify the sexes without seeing their undercarriages during this time. The female is in the lead, with a dominate male directly behind here, if there are any other following in line, they are young, subordinate males… waiting for their chance.

Males will fight for dominance when there are no females around to chase. You’ll hear the “Chu-chu-chu” noise or see the squirrel stomping its feet and swishing its tail as a form of war dance! To adorable.

**Click here to learn how smart squirrels are**

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I have many bird feeders and perch areas to feed the wildlife at work. At my home, not so much. I do have a suet holder and otherwise, I only toss ‘left overs’ out to the wildlife I share my space with. Left overs can vary from bread to nuts to fruit to seeds, nothing I think is dangerous to the wildlife, nor anything I want out there that attracts unwanted wildlife, like skunks or ‘possoms. All approved items get thrown on the front lawn at dawn. The front lawn is devoid of crazy Border Collies and if thrown out at dawn, all trace of food will be gone by mid-day, thus won’t be attracting any nightlife creatures of the stinky variety.

As I know I might catch some flack from feeding the wildlife anything but proper foods… I did consult the ALL KNOWING INTERNET to back or deflate my decision to give my furries bread. Seems there are as many pro’s as con’s out there for feeding any type of wildlife (ducks, birds, squirrels…) bread. In my opinion, and how I try to live my life (mostly)… It’s all about moderation. Going to McDonald’s twice a year isn’t going to kill you, in the same as giving wildlife bread will kill them. I don’t share it that often and they seem to enjoy their Squirrel McDonald’s!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

A Sad Day For Ilex

 

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Here’s where all the fun happens!!

Welcome to the world of Ilex!!

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ve probably seen many bird, squirrel, humorous and serious posts that have originated from the view from my desk. I work in a large, renovated-into-an-office house. I love the feel here, as it really feels like home. I can make a grilled cheese for lunch on the stove, not have to share poop smells with a stall neighbor and best of all, have my desk right up against a picture window!

My predecessor had a bird feeder hanging from the tree, however she never offered the birds anything good, so she never got any interesting visitors aside from sparrows.

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My tree, held together with a strap.

After she left, I stepped up the game and started offering sunflower seeds, suet and thistle. It wasn’t long before word got out that Ilex’s Bird Bonanza was open for business! I started getting visitors of all shapes and sizes. I had never been a big birder in the past, however now I had my bird book out and learned all of the different species, what they liked to eat, how they serenaded their mates, fed their young and sometimes avoided death. I even got to see visitors with fur instead of feathers. Sadly, sometimes the furries even ate my feathered friends. Nature happens like that.

Our normal Springs are very windy. Ironically, they do not call Chicago the ‘Windy City’ because of the gusty weather we have here, it’s because of the blow-hardy politicians! Remember, Mr. Obama is from our wonderful state. =P

It was during a particularly windy day that I noticed my tree was swaying a bit. I went outside to get a better look and inspect it like a true arborist should. I used a rubber mallet to tap on the crack in the center and all I heard was hollow noises… NOT good. Most likely, this was two trees that grew together. This causes the inner bark to constantly wear and rot when water or debris gets stuck in it.

I had the crew strap the limbs together so I wouldn’t get killed on the job. There are better ways to deal with this, however when you know the tree has to go, there’s no reason to do a full guy wire to try to lengthen the life of the tree. It’s not going to be safe to leave it. So, with a heavy heart, I watched our crew cut the branches down and finally the trunk, down to the stump that is left today.

I cried a little. The guys knew how I felt about this tree and my feathered friends. They helped me take the feeders down and were extra nice at finding alternative methods to hang my feeders from the gutters.

I was really worried I’d loose many of my visitors, however so far, only two species went MIA, the Red-Belled Woodpecker & the Brown Creepers. Both are trunk feeders. They loved coming by for suet on the tree trunk. I do put suet on a tree out of my view from the window. I know someone is eating it though, as it does disappear!

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Ah, memories!! I loved watching the birds land on the trunk and snack.
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My new view. Not as forest looking as it used to be, but I’ll get used to it. I do also get my pick of replacement trees. I’m torn between a Black Tupelo and a Crimson Frost Birch. Both are pretty awesome trees. I’m sure there will be a post when I do decide.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Your Enemy’s Enemy is Your Friend

imageThis is one helluva image squirrel mansion that is in my black cherry. The trumpet vine that has grown up the tree allows for a nice hideout for The Squirrel Family.

There is a tad bit of an issue with location. This fine residence is built in the middle of a yard that has two border collies patrolling it!
They’d better be quick entering and exiting the residence.

That’s the only downside. Otherwise, it’s a dam, safe neighborhood! Who’s going to come bother them with these guys on patrol?!?

Happy April Fool’s Day!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Squirrel at My Window

This is my little boy I call ‘Red‘.
He’s not a red squirrel, however he does have a reddish tint. He has no fear of me and regularly stops at my window for his fill of sunflower seeds. Red and the other squirrels actually do leave my feeders alone, not sure if it’s because I offer them other, easily attained food or the fishing line I used to hold the feeders up is too small for them to climb on. Or maybe they haven’t gotten their obstacle course training yet!!

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“Hello, Ilex! I’m here to eat the sunflower seeds you left me!”

 

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Nom, nom, nom…

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Red is a young squirrel, I’ve not seen him before this year. There used to be a few older squirrels that would stop by, however I think the ‘nature cycle’ has taken them to a better place, as I don’t see them anymore.