A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Malthusian Squirrels

After a brief cold spell, we are back to our normal warm Thanksgiving weekend weather. Everyone was out today putting up their Christmas decorations and raking the last of the leaves. I was mowing mine. I put the bag on my mulching mower and empty the shredded grass and leaves on my gardens as mulch/compost. It beats raking and bagging. I covered all of the beds except the Orange/Yellow garden which I haven't planted yet. The warm weather is supposed to extend through Tuesday. I hope to finish planting tomorrow.

In the meantime, I can indulge in my favorite fall pastime: squirrel nest spotting. Last year, I was concerned because there seemed to be fewer nests than prior years. This year there seem to be more. Everywhere I looked, there were nests in the trees.

There were nests in trees that had never before had nests.

Even more amazing, is the tree in my neighbor's yard with two nests in it. I've never seen that before.

Down the street is a tree that appears to have three nests:

So this year, I am worried about too many squirrels. I wonder if I contributed to this sudden population increase? I have been throwing birdseed under one of my feeders for the groundfeeding birds knowing full well that the squirrels are also dining on them. When I was at the pet store last week buying cat food, I saw a special on birdseed and as long as I was buying food for wild creatures, I picked up a bag of food for the squirrels also. I didn't put any out right away. The following morning, my cat was very attentive at a window and when I looked out, I saw a poor, thin, scraggly squirrel on my back porch. He was holding a paw up to his chest. I thought it was injured until he put it down and tucked the other paw to his chest. Then I realized he must be cold. He looked like he wasn't getting enough to eat so I ran outside in the cold dressed only in my pj's and slippers and put out food for him. Yes, I am nuts.

And a little miffed. Since then, I've noticed that the squirrels aren't eating the corn in the food I put out. They are supposed to like corn. The pet store even sells "corn on the cob" specifically for squirrels. Have I spoiled my neighborhood squirrels so much that they are now picky eaters?


At 10:33 AM, Blogger Kasmira said...

The squirrel behavior does sound odd. The tree-rats in our neighborhood are always fat and sleek and raiding the birdfeeders. Sounds like the squirrel you saw was sick.

I also didn't know that squirrels built nests. I always assumed that they lived in tree hollows. The nest makes much more sense.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

I did a little research on squirrels last January (see this post)and discovered that squirrels only use those nests in the summer. In the winter, you are correct, they use nests built in tree hollows.


Post a Comment

<< Home