Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Squirrels - Neighbors from Hell


A while ago, Ratty's blog Everyday Adventurer did a feature on Red Squirrels which reminded me of what difficult neighbors they are.
We moved from a very busy urban life to a cabin along a lake to find some peace and quiet.   We didn't know that a Red Squirrel already lived there.  I was used to them chattering at me when I went for a walk in the forest but knew little else of them or I might have changed my mind.

From the moment spring arrived, the squirrel was present and first light, each morning until sunset at night, everything that moved caused it to chatter angrily.  If you went outside, it chattered as loud as it could until you gave up and went back in.

I was determined to live peacefully with the annoying little thing until I put up my first bird feeder.  The previous owners had attached the feeder to the clothes line strung across middle of the yard.  Turns out  this squirrel would take flying leaps off the roof or tree branches until it could land on the feeder.  I spent weeks trying to find the exact spot to move this feeder where it couldn't reach.
There was a small 2 foot area it could be hung in that the squirrel couldn't reach but sometimes the wind would blow it out of that safe area.  The other problem was if it couldn't reach it, the squirrel just chattered more and more.  When it did reach the feeder, it would sit on the roof  chattering and attacking any bird that attempted to land. So to resolve the situation, I'd move the feeder so the squirrel could eat, then would refill it and move it away so the birds could eat.

Later, I foolishly planted a garden, which it also claimed.  It ate anything that grew above ground.  I never got a single pea, bean or strawberry.

It did give me two  very special memories though:
1. The neighbor boy discovered her nest full of babies in his attic and brought one over for me to pet before replacing them..  We noticed they were full of fleas (maybe that's why they were so irritable)
2.In the fall, it picked mushrooms and hung them on the tree branches to dry before storing them. At first, I thought my husband had done it as a joke but we watched and when the mushrooms dried, the squirrel gathered them all.
I never knew any animal did that.

For some beautiful photos of Red Squirrels go to Ginny's Blog 

Just found a site that sells squirrel proof bird feeders http://bromebirdcare.com/


41 comments:

  1. i enjoyed your frustration in your story as much as your cute artwork! :)

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  2. I had NO idea those things could be THAT smart;))
    Wow....he had you wrapped around his furry little tail:D
    Good thing they're cute.

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    1. They really are cute and it is a good thing :O)

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  3. That must have been a real headache with the squirrel. Doesn't sound like he made the best neighbor.

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  4. Cute little devils, but they're very rare a round here. I doubt I've seen more than four in my lifetime.

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  5. It sounds like the red squirrel has been taking lessons from the pesky possums here!

    But I have a saying..."we share this planet" but sometimes I just wish we didn't share it so closely.

    Your art work is pretty amazing :D

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    1. I don't know anything about possums they sound interesting and thanks.

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  6. They can be rascals, if you recall i had one nip me last year.

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  7. I always loved finding red squirrels. For they have a lot more meat on them than grays, but now that I am down to only four teeth, it doesn't really matter anymore. Sigh.

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  8. Lovely artwork......they are beautiful creatures, even if somewhat irritating.
    I love your humour.....has he/she left your garden now??

    I have rabbits in my garden most nights, whilst I sleep. The damage they do is horrendous.
    I suppose if we live in the country, this is all part of the way of life :}

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    1. I can imagine the damage rabbits would do but you're right we need to share our space.

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  9. Love your portrait of the red squirrel. We have them once in a while but never near the house.

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  10. Wow, we have hardly any red squirrels left in the UK so tend to look on them as really special, didn't realise they were so difficult though!

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    1. It's sad to see how many creatures are disappearing.

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  11. Carole, as annoying a pest as the red squirrel was for you, the artwork in which it's featured is beautiful. Another blogger, Grammie G also featured a red squirrel in a blog the same day...popular pest.

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  12. I had no idea that red squirrels could be such a nuisance - obviously better to look at your lovely painting than to have the real thing nearby!!!

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  13. Red squirrels are exceptionally cute. but they are also exceptionally monstrous little beasts. I've seen their aggressive attitudes towards other creatures and even to each other, even capturing that behavior on video. I think we should all be glad they're so little.

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    1. You're right, thank goodness they're so little :O)

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  14. Nice story about the squirrel. I never thought them to be hardworking until I read your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Hi Carole, it's lovely to be back :-) I'm so sorry to have taken so long to make a comment, it has been difficult trying to catch up with everyone after my absence.

    Anyway, I loved your story! So humorous but with a real sense of frustration showing through. What a neighbour to have! I thought the mushroom drying incident was just amazing and should think animal behaviourists would be fascinated by your observation.

    Your artwork is as lovely as ever!

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    1. It does take a long time to catch up and you have so many to do. Thanks, I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before or since and would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself

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  16. I found that the Aullwood Center, about 20 miles from us sell this type bird feeder, I'm going to call them to see which one they have. According to the price on the ones from Canada, they are a little expensive, but if they hold up and discourage those pesky squirrels, it would be worth it.

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    1. I sure hope it works for you Patty. What you save on feeding them should pay for the feeder I hope

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  17. Wow, you poor thing! This is amazing. I've been around these squirrels a lot but they never caused any trouble. Maybe you live in a bad (squirrel) neighborhood where all the tuff and onery squirrels live? I remember reading a book about this animal trainer and how he got all the annoying animals to leave his area, but I forget the name of the book. This was in the 1930s I think, and he trained a very famous dog from the movies. Anyone know the name of this book, because I'd like to read it again.

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    1. Now you have me curious I want to know the name too it sounds so interesting.

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  18. Hi there, I was going to send the Liebster Blog Award directly to your email address, but I see you don't include that on your blog...nae probs as they say in Scotland.
    On to Plan B ~ go into my blog and hover over the logo at the top of the page then right clip whilst hovering. Click on the 'Save Image As' button and save it into your picture folder. You should have it saved then and can attach it where you wish.

    I hope this works but please feel free to email me directly if it doesn't and I'll copy and paste it to you ;D
    Good Luck picking your five!

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    1. Thanks for the award and for letting me know about the email. I had no idea it wasn't showing up. I did click on it and it said it was saving but when I opened it nothing was there. Thanks I'll email.

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  19. I use to envy y'all that had Red Squirrels in their area. Now I am happy just to see photos and nice paintings of them.
    Which BTW...you promote their beauty very well!

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    1. Thanks Jean I'm glad I don't live by any anymore :O)

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  20. Oh dear that doesn't sound good.

    I have no experience of red squirrels we have horrible grey ones here in Ireland.

    I found your post really interesting.

    Am busy playing catch up
    but don't think I will ever be able to catch up on all that I missed.

    I am glad to be back reading your lovely blog and viewing your great pics.

    Have a good weekend.


    x Fiona

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    1. Nice to hear from you. I've no experience with the grey ones are they just as bad? You have a great weekend too!

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  21. Hi there. Very cute Red Squirrel, and I know all about moving feeders!! I live in Toronto, Canada, and earlier this year, my wife, Jean, and I were in Ireland where we also came upon the rarely seen Red Squirrel. They actually look somewhat like our Canadian Red Squirrels, but boy, do they have long ears! We were shocked to learn that Ireland’s Red squirrels are contracting the pox virus from Grey Squirrels, and dying. We have far to many Grey Squirrels here, and only a few Red Squirrels. So we felt very lucky to have seen two Red's in Ireland. We have posted some of our pictures and video for anyone interested at: http://frametoframe.ca/photo-essay-red-grey-squirrels-canada-ireland

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