It's been a busy day at the feeders. The suet has attracted a red bellied, a downy and a hairy woodpecker. The sunflower feeders have been visited by black capped chickadees, white and red breasted nuthatches, purple and gold finches, and ...? The flurry of fine flakes falling from yet another gray sky no doubt helps to account for some of the activity.
chickadees, woodpecker, finches at feeders
Photo by J. Harrington
Over the past several days, we've noticed that there's been a small explosion in the local red squirrel population. One of the parents, most likely "mom," has been showing five young'uns the territory. As the Son-in-Law Person noted, you can tell they're youngsters because they run across the open, snow-covered field, exposing themselves to hawks, if any are around.
Something I don't know enough about is how the hawk population that migrates south over Hawk Ridge in Duluth relates to the Winter resident hawks I often see perched on light stanchions along the Interstate. What determines whether a hawk migrates south, and how far? There's a fair amount of information available about where to see and how to identify migrating hawks, but explanations on migration motivation is pretty general. And, as I was poking about the nooks and crannies of the Internet trying to learn what else might feast on red squirrels, I learned that the red squirrel is "the third most abundantly commercially harvested furbearing, wild animal in North America!)." Since I don't recall ever seeing a red squirrel coat or cape, I'm now going to have to try to discover what all those pelts are used for (faux fox?). Curse you Don Rumsfeld and your known unknowns!
Photo by J. Harrington
On the other hand, it looks like there's a possibility our local barred owl(s) may help thin out the red squirrel population before the hawks return from their southern sojourn.
Something blurred, warmedin the eye’s corner, like woodsmokebecoming tears;but when you turned to look
the stoop was still, the pumpkinand tacky mum pot wouldn’t talk —just a rattleat the gutter and a sense
of curtains, somewhere, pulled.Five of them later, scarfing the oak’sblack bole,laying a dream of snakes.
Needy and reticentat once, these squirrels in charred Novemberrecall, in Virgil,what it is to feel:
moods, half-moods,swarming, then darting loose; obscurehunches that refuseto speak, but still expect
in some flash of luckto be revealed. The less you tryto notice them,the more they will know of you.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.