Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout

Cooing doves at dawn
placing unwanted cold calls
don't give peace a chance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ooh Baby Baby

You can’t step out into our yard nowadays without tripping over a baby something: a young grackle (more matte brown than oily black) perches itself atop the wrought iron shepherd’s crook from which our squirrel-proof feeder hangs and demands (with silent open mouth) to be fed; full-sized sparrows and finches, with wings not yet trained to fly, randomly hop for cover across our lawn; cardinals colored mostly tan but also red (as if unsure of their gender) stand patiently on the ground ‘neath our food stations; pigeons whose color patterns do not match any of their comrades, but who are noticeably smaller, peck ferociously at the seed shards on the grass.

But where are the baby squirrels?

Sciuridae Sciurus also gives birth in the spring. But their offspring – blind, 1-2 ounces in weight, and 4 or so to a litter – remain in the nest with their mother (father having quickly fled the scene after performing “the act”), being nursed, until they are ready to go out on their own. At which point they blend in with the rest.

We are not however seeing an increase in the number of squirrels at our feeders. Throughout the spring our squirrel population has been basically three – each one distinguishable by its unique eating style. We have a top-feeder, a middle-feeder, and a bottom-feeder.

The first of this trio firmly imbeds it rear paws on the top of our soda bottle feeder (the one that is NOT squirrel proof), drapes itself out the length of the container like a lifeless fur stole, and stuffs its face from the seed chute at lower end.

The middle-feeder slides down the wrought iron shepherd’s crook from which the feeder hangs and reaches across to the food-holder with its front paws. This seems to be the least efficient dining method because the M-F continues to slip down the pole as it attempts to lengthen its body in an effort to continue chowing down. This approach usually fails within 10-15 seconds as the tree rodent falls to the ground and then quickly repeats the process over and over until it is either totally sated, completely frustrated or absolutely exhausted and staggers away to gather itself for future foraging.

The bottom-feeder, aka “6 Pack”, hangs by its feet from the metal perch on the base of the seed silo and – in an acrobatic maneuver that would win the admiration of the most muscular gymnast – bends its body upwards at the waist into a u-shape that allows it total access to the food hole. Probably because eats can’t be digested around the bend, it stuffs its pouches and fills its paws – then lowers itself slowly and elegantly to a full inverted posture and ingests its booty.

 “6 Pack” spends a longer time at the feeder than the top-feeder (whose continuous upside down-ness and the attendant blood-flow I’m sure leads to dizziness) or “M-F” (whose stay is actually only slightly longer than the law of gravity allows). But, because of the extreme exertion required, “6 Packs” eponymous abdominal muscles belie the amount of carbs he actually takes in at a sitting (or more accurately a hanging).

 Since it is virtually impossible to tell a squirrel’s gender except from very close up, it’s unclear if any of our three guests could be mothers. There definitely are no overt indications of nursing. So there may in fact not be any baby tree rats on our property this spring.

Or, if there are, they may be so intimidated by the gastronomic gymnastics of our regulars that they have gone off to seek succor and learn the ropes in other places.

Just as well. When the other babies figure out how to fend for themselves we’re going to have an Olympic-sized feeding frenzy on our hands. Top-Feeder, M-F, and 6 Pack may even have to queue up and “take a number” like the rest of the world.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another Life Lesson From Our Yard

Black-eyed Sue beware
chipmunks eat Rudbekia –
your seeds may be next.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Life Rule # 13

Your mishit ball lies
in grass improperly mowed –
play it as it lies.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Luminescent bugs 
signal “catch me if you can” – 
yellow light district.