Squirrels !!! (and a Chipmunk)

This blog entry contains the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus).

I know that many people see squirrels out in the open and up close on a regular basis, particularly in some more urban areas.  But not here.  Here at my home, squirrels sometimes play at the edge of the woods.  But they do not come into the yard.  But this year’s drastic food shortage in our area has pushed an astonishing number of squirrels out into the open.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of them are dying on our local roads and highways from getting hit crossing the roads in a desperate attempt to locate food for the winter.  I’ve heard that DNR officials say the mast (the squirrels nut & berry food stock) is the lowest they have ever seen in WV the 40 years that they have been tracking it.   A few areas are close to normal levels, but most aren’t.  Some are predicting that by next year we will have less than one half of the squirrel population that we currently have, due to die off from lack of food, and a lower birth rate due to lack of food.  They say the mast here locally is almost non-existent.

We generally don’t buy any sort of wild animal feed.  It is simply out of our budget.  But after seeing these little guys coming and looking around so desperately, my husband and I discussed trying to help them out at least here at the house.  We only talked about it for a moment and the next day he surprised me with a 100 pound bag of whole corn!  He said that he went by the feed store and the 100 pound bag was only $2.00 more than the teeny tiny bag, so he bought the big one.

Being whole corn it is basically too big for the birds.  But is perfect for squirrels.

So far we’ve had 3 regular visitors.  For purposes of keeping them straight I refer to them as the light one, the calm one, and the grumpy one.  The light one is very fine boned and tiny and I believe female.  She is very shy.  And her entire underside is bright white.  Which is kind of interesting.  And her top coat is lighter than normal as well.  The calm one is just your average squirrel, in looks and behavior.  The grumpy one loves to flip his tail and bark at me.  Over and over and over again while giving me dirty looks.  Which is why I call him the grumpy one.  🙂

I took a lot of photos today.  Here they are:

DSCF2930c_20%_300dpi_wC

This is the one I have dubbed “the calm one”.

~

DSCF2937c_50%_300dpi_wC

I have an overwhelming desire to label the above photo with the caption “Darn ragweed!”   😉

LOL  🙂

I know that’s how the ragweed pollen makes me feel.

~

DSCF2941c_25%_300dpi_wC

~

DSCF2942c_20%_300dpi_wC

Mid pounce.  Cuz you know… corn is fast!  LOL!

~

DSCF2943c_25%_300dpi_wC

He actually looks fat from this angle.  He’s not at all.  None of them are.

~

DSCF2945c_30%_300dpi_wC

I think the shot above is the best one of the day.

~

DSCF2949c_20%_300dpi_wC

~

Now for the grumpy one:

DSCF2954c_30%_300dpi_wC

This one wouldn’t come any further than the stump at the edge of the woods that had some corn on it.  And he kept shooting me grumpy looks and barking at me.  It was cute.

DSCF2955c_35%_300dpi_wC

DSCF2956c_65%_300dpi_wC

I really like the photo above because of what it shows.  I have always found the way in which squirrels flip their tail when they bark interesting.  Notice how still the bottom of his tail is, and yet the top is in full twist.  A lot of people think they just flip it up and down when barking, but they actually twist and flip it.  And I think it is cool that this photo captured that motion.

~

Below is the light colored, shy one:

DSCF2964c_80%_300dpi_wC

The photo caught her mid blink.

~

Now what happened next was funny.
Enter the Eastern Chipmunk.

DSCF2967c_70%_300dpi_wC

I couldn’t get good photos of him, as he was moving about too much.  But he ran onto the first tree stump and started fussing.  Apparently this area falls into what he feels is his territory.  (Chipmunks are quite territorial.)  And he goes about trying to frighten the squirrels off.  Now the idea of that sounds funny.  But it worked!

DSCF2969c_45%_300dpi_wC

The squirrels who had only taken mild notice of me (except for the grumpy one) were extremely alarmed by the angry chipmunk.  It was rather comical to watch.  I’m quite certain this wouldn’t have happened if this were the squirrel’s normal area.  But I think it had a lot to do with the fact that they were not terribly comfortable out in this new area to them, to start with.  The grumpy one bolted off into the woods immediately.  Even the calm one, stood at attention (as you can see above) and then ran away from the chipmunk.

DSCF2970c_30%_300dpi_wC

Better hurry!  The chipmunk is going to get you!   LOL  🙂

DSCF2971c_40%_300dpi_wC

~

A good 20 feet away, the little light one also ran in terror from the big bad upset chipmunk.

DSCF2974c_20%_300dpi_wC

She watched from her frightened perch on the tree, while the chipmunk sat and finished off the last of the corn on the stump.

DSCF2976c_70%_300dpi_wC

DSCF2977c_90%_300dpi_wC

He finished off the last of the corn that was out on the stump, then sat there shooting all of them looks.  Then he ran off back from the direction that he came.

Eventually the little light squirrel came back out again.

DSCF2993c_30%_300dpi_wC

And that’s all for today.

Thanks for visiting the blog!

~ ~ ~

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Squirrels !!! (and a Chipmunk)

  1. You know how I love squirrels and these are so cute! I don’t get chipmunks here and wish that I did. I know what you mean about the budget and food for the critters. Since my husband got laid off, I’ve had to shop much more frugally to keep feeding the hungry bunch that have come to depend on my generosity and provide me with photos. I cut out thistle seed completely and only buy sunflower seeds….which almost anyone eats….and suet. I always buy the 50lb bags because they are cheaper…but heavy to deal with when I get them home. My squirrels are so spoiled they don’t want corn…they want sunflower seeds! We live near farms, so they can find corn naturally.

    Like

    • Mary, I’d like to get a big bag of sunflower seeds, when I can swing it. I was thinking I would look into the prices again once the weather is a bit colder. I know last winter sunflower seeds were outrageous, at least around here. I would feed some seed right now if I had some. I’m happy to have the corn for now. Thankfully my husband is here to do lifting, and my father lives close by too. So I leave the lifting to them. I haven’t bought thistle in years but I remember it being pricey.

      Like

  2. Hello Debbie. Mary showed me the way to your blog and I am so pleased she did. You have some wonderful pictures and information on yours. It is amazining how much we find close to home. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Hi Joan, Thank you! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back! I will do my best to keep things updated around here. If things slow down during the winter I plan on digging into my older photos (things I photographed long before I had the blog). So hopefully I can keep things interesting in the winter too. 🙂

      Like

  3. Just found your blog through Mary…at Faith, Fabric and Photos…I love all the pictures of ‘your’ gray squirrels. I live in a small town and we have the fox squirrels and just occasionally see the gray ones when we are out on a drive, but they are always too quick for me to capture.

    I do have one squirrel here that eats from my hand, her name is Mama Squirrel and she is featured several times on my blog, usually under the label Mama Squirrel.

    The whole neighborhood calls her my squirrel…ha

    Like

    • I will be sure and take a look. 🙂 Squirrels are such clever animals. I think they are lots of fun to watch. They can also get really bonded to a particular person. Just be careful, especially if there are rabies cases in your area. It can be easy to get accidentally scratched. Rabies isn’t common in squirrels, but they can contract/spread it just like any mammal.
      I haven’t seen a fox squirrel in years. I wish I would see some around here.

      Like

  4. I enjoyed your squirrel pictures and your writing about them! They are such fun to watch! We have lots of woods out back but it’s too far away to see the squirrels clearly. I like to make pictures of all God’s flora and fauna that I can find and most of it is usually around the house. I got here via Mary. I invite you to come over and see my blog:
    Counting My Blessings

    Like

  5. Hi Debbie;
    This is my first visit. Mary at Faith, Fabric, and Photos sent me an email yesterday and told me about your great blog. She is right. I love your squirrel shots. We don’t have many where we live. I’m not sure why except we have no nut trees. Not very many Oaks either. Anyway I love stories and pictures of squirrels.
    If you have time do come out to check my blog. It’s mostly a nature blog, although I do add other interests from time to time.
    Hope you are having a wondeful day. Right now here is SW New York state it is sunny, although rain is predicted for later.
    B.

    Like

    • Hi Becky, Thanks for visiting! I hope you come again. I will be sure to check out your blog. Today it is raining here too. Nothing extremely hard, but a very steady constant rain. I’m not exactly sure when it started but it was raining at 2:30am when I was feeding the baby, and still is right now. That’s ok though. I could use a break from the ragweed pollen. 😉
      Debbie

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s