Monday, November 7, 2016

HOW I BECAME A SQUIRREL WHISPERER

By Mary Kennedy                                                  

I've always been a fan of all animals--companion animals like cats, dogs, horses,and even backyard "critters." Now some people consider squirrels to be garden "pests," with no redeeming value. Not so! I started feeding squirrels many years ago and I think they've been given bad press. Like wolves (but that's another topic and I'll save that for another blog.)

Many people are amazed that I feed squirrels. When I bought a bag of dried ears of corn at Lowe's, the cashier asked me how to cook them. I explained that I didn't cook them, the ears of corn were for the squirrels. "You feed squirrels?" She immediately took a step backwards, as if such insanity could be catching. 
                                                                         
                                            

I'm happy to say that a recent post on Facebook generated a lot of interest from fellow squirrel-lovers. (Yay, Facebook friends, you rock!) So many people chimed in to say that they also fed squirrels, and enjoyed their antics. Here are a couple of amorous squirrels, and the baby in the middle is probably saying, "Hey guys, cut it out!"
                                                                               

A couple of people posted about a cute little squirrel feeder shaped like a tiny chair. I fell in love with it, and this is definitely going on my Christmas list! 

                                                                              


Some folks marveled at the ingenuity of squirrels. No matter what kind of bird feeder you use, they seem to find a way to get inside. It takes a lot of creativity to outwit a hungry squirrel! Here's a little guy who snared a piece of pizza (so squirrels eat pizza? Who knew!) And I've seen a squirrel drag an ear of corn up a tree--backwards!

                                                                                 

The only "problem" in feeding squirrels is that it encourages other critters to come into the yard at night. Now, I don't mind that, but I have noticed a few raccoons lately. Hey, they have to eat, too. They enjoy the nuts, seeds and fruit that I feed the squirrels.
                                                                             
                                                                               

All my cats are safely indoors, 100% of the time, so I don't have to worry about any cat-wildlife squabbles. And the squirrels really do provide hours of enjoyment for my cats, who watch them from the glassed-in sun porch. (Sorry there are no cats in the photos below, naturally the cats ran and hid when they saw the camera!). But you get the idea, it's the perfect spot for squirrel-watching. (Note: sipping tea and reading a cozy mystery is good, too.)

                                                                               

   
If nothing else, squirrel-watching takes the cats away from watching too much television! I keep telling them television is going to rot their brain, but do they listen?

                                                                         

So if you'd like to turn your backyard into a wildlife friendly environment, start feeding the little critters, and think about making a nice pile of branches for them to nest in, during the winter months.

   

And thank you for all the suggestions about feeding squirrels, I'm going to buy those little pumpkins someone told me about. Excellent idea!        
                                                                             

Hope you chime in with more suggestions!! I really do take them to heart, I love my readers!

Mary Kennedy 
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