The Feeder Feed: ENEMY edition

I haven’t posted about the feeder for a while.

Here is little Red-Breasted Nuthatch. Like most Nuthatches they tend to like being upsidedown.

The other day I heard a “SMACK” against the window and, when I went outside I saw one of these fellow sitting on the ground next to the house. I slowly picked it up.  It looked at me for a bit and flew away, apparently not too much the worse for the bump.

Chickadee Triumphans.

Nuthatches and Chicakdees form common flocks just during the winter.

Have you had the experience when in a familiar setting of something catching the edge of your eye and, instantly, you know that it is unusual?

Thus, it transpired for me today.

I was diligently working on my article for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, and out of my eye’s corner I saw something odd.  Looking up, I saw an unusual squirrel running from an unaccustomed (for them) direction toward the tree next to the house.

Black squirrels are not especially rare in this part of the world, but I have never seen one anywhere near my place.

I loath the enemy squirrel, of course, but the oddity of it brings it to my blog today.

By contrast, this is the gray enemy.

This is the sort of tree rat which has earned my eternal enmity. Once you have the experience of squirrels getting into some place in your house, you will even aim for them when you are driving. But I digress.

And the smaller red enemy.

All within a few minutes.

In any event, I will make an appeal now for donations for feed.  As I have said in times past, “It’s more than tuppence a bag”.

I feed them from your donations. I haven’t had to make many appeals for awhile since, few months ago, someone donated a large quantity of good stuff (lots of peanuts, etc.) which has the high fat content the birds benefit from in freezing cold weather. But that is nearly gone, now. Therefore, I am happy to beg your kindness.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wanda says:

    Wowee! I’ve heard about the black squirrels, but have never seen one. The news of great eats at your place must be spreading by word of beak. Thanks for the feeder feed post, it’s always a real lift to the spirit. There is so much awful news, that I need to rest my head from it sometimes. Thanks, again.

  2. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    I check your blog everyday, and My Little Sister LOVES the bird posts! she likes to Birdwatch, and she’s about 9 years old, and she would like to ‘Thank You for the Funny Bird Posts’ [My pleasure.]
    So, I’d like to thank you too!
    ‘Gray enemy’, lol!

    -A Squirrel Lover (Tree Rats!)

  3. NoTambourines says:

    All you need to collect the whole set is an albino squirrel with creepy red eyes!

  4. Bryan Boyle says:

    Pushed the button…so, now some additional nourishment is theirs for the asking. [May your house be squirrel free forever.]

    And…we used to see the black squirrels on Edwards Parade at Universitas Fordhamensis while we were doing that college kid thing and sitting on the lawn in the spring. Funny, they were never quite as friendly as the greys (who seemed to love the fact that I always had peanuts in my jacket, and would happily give them out to the little critters.

    Now, Father, like you, I aim for them. And groundhogs. And skunks. The large woodland rodents with antlers…well, they’re a bit more problematic, especially with a new car and all…but they make a fine stew and jerky…. [Rats with hooves.]

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    Black squirrels used to hang around Princeton as well, and I agree that they seemed rather standoffish.
    Of course, squirrels probably recognize me as a mortal enemy. Sciurus delenda est! They have been in our attic, in our garage, and even down the vent to the kitchen range hood (removal was a Rube Goldberg exercise involving peanuts, PVC pipe, a HavAHart trap, and duct tape). They also set my dad’s house on fire when he was a young lad. The fact that the squirrels suffered death by electrocution (or smoke inhalation) was cold comfort . . . .
    The rats with antlers are better eating. I’m currently training my oldest dog to hunt antler sheds, but she has ambitions to get a whole one (silly girl).

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    I didn’t even know that Black Squirrels actually existed, as for the Rats with good PR surely they are not thattttttttt bad?

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    Ohhh we had three in our house one time years ago. You don’t forget that. Dog barking like a maniac and chasing, cat going nuts. Blood spattered everywhere (mine, squirrel bit me). Squirrels going straight up the walls. Not as fun as it sounds.

    The little red one is adorable.

  8. mibethda says:

    Black squirrels are simply a variety of the Eastern Gray. They do tend to be more aggressive (there were news reports a couple of years ago of their attacking people) and shameless in their thieving habits. They are particularly common in Washington, D.C.

  9. We’ve got white squirrels in my area. You tend to see a lot one year and then none the next, probably thanks to recessive genes.

  10. irishgirl says:

    I remember many years ago when my older sister and her cousin (same age, a month apart) first moved into a house near a well-known Upstate NY university.
    My cousin had a black squirrel get into her bedroom, and the little ‘rat with the bushy tail’ shredded all her magazines and made a nest out of them! Never forgot that story!
    Around where I live, it’s mostly gray squirrels. They are funny when they chase each other up and down the branches of the bare trees-pretty acrobatic when you think about it!
    Wow, Father Z, you’re pretty ticked off about squirrels and ‘rats with antlers’-I’m pretty sure that you don’t them around the bird feeders! They’ll eat you out of house and home if they do!

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Grew up in an area of Black Squirrels, Davenport, Iowa. And, sorry Father, I love squirrels and miss them when I am in squirrel-less countries in Europe. In olden days, when I had bird feeders, I had to use all types of ingenious methods of keeping the critters off the bird feeders. But, I do like them, and prairie dogs, and ground squirrels, and chipmunks…

  12. AvantiBev says:

    “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom thou hast given the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the earth. which should have gone up to thee in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for thee, and that they have the sweetness of life.” – St. Basil (c. 330-379)
    That “groan of travail” are the poor squirrels trying to cross the road when Father Z is behind the wheel!! Shame!

  13. abasham says:

    I’m going to jump in real quick to defend the noble squirrel. When I was a young kid growing up in New York we had a particular squirrel in our back yard who we semi-adopted. We would cling to our screen door in the morning and I used to love feeding him left over waffles from breakfast. He was very docile and not at all afraid of people. Good squirrel.

    Birds on the other hand…ugh…I see no reason to associate with vicious miniature dinosaurs who figured out how to grow feathers for disguise.

  14. Federico says:

    I insist, you got it all wrong.

    Next squirrel season (it ended a few weeks ago here) I will shoot some, dress them, skin them, quarter them, vacuum pack them, freeze them, and overnight them to you along with a recipe.

    Then you will know, squirrels are not bad, they are very good indeed!

    When I stew some, they hardly last 1 hour in our household.

  15. APX says:

    My Canadian city is over-run by black squirrels. I’ve never seen any until I moved here, and I see them everywhere. I’m told they escaped from the zoo, had relations, and expanded exponentially.

  16. xsosdid says:

    Father I have a love-hate relationship with the squirrel, as I am by profession a telecom technician (a “phone guy”). They chew everything and they nest in our terminals. On the one hand, they make me climb poles and fix things, and then, on the other hand, I get paid to climb poles and fix things.
    I have this theory about the origin of the expression (do they have it in your neck of the woods?) that someone is “squirrely”, meaning crazy or weird. You see, the older aerial plant used for telephone lines was encased in lead. You can still see this being used in some places, and wherever it is used you see the teeth marks of squirrels. Now I understand that lead tastes sweet, so maybe this is why they like it so much. My thought is that perhaps the lead ingested by squirrels has made them “mad as a hatter” , thus leading to the appellation.
    Anyway, that’s just one of those things you naturally think about when you are climbing a telephone pole to fix squirrel damage, and I figured you would want to know.

  17. xsosdid says:

    Also where I live in Canada they are mostly black, and I once had to kill one with a two-by-four.

  18. APX says:

    I once had to kill one with a two-by-four.
    I prefer a pellet gun, personally. I invested in a scope to improve accuracy. NB: I am not endorsing or suggesting the use of an air gun within city limits. To do so would be unlawful.

  19. NoraLee9 says:

    There are (or at least there were, when I lived there) Black Squirrels in the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Housing Development on the east side of Manhattan. My understanding is that they were brought over especially for the development from Germany. My guess is that other black squirrels throughout the US also came from Germany. I do not believe they are native to the US.

  20. Kerry says:

    Eeeeee! “Crebain from Mordor!!”

  21. skull kid says:

    The red one is very cute.

  22. irishgirl says:

    Oh, my goodness-I’m trying not to LOL here at the library while reading the ‘anti-squirrel’ posts here!
    Father Z-when I saw the first picture of the black squirrel, I thought it was a small cat! You got some great shots of them (haha-yeah, I know….[silly awkward grin] ).

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    I think ones feelings about squirrels are a direct result of how much one has suffered from them. It’s like people who think beavers are “cute” — until they gnaw down every tree on your place and back the creek up over your driveway and into your basement.
    But on the other hand I do sometimes feel a little pity for the so-and-sos . . .
    When my kids were small, we had a red Windstar minivan that was truly an awful vehicle in many ways. Aside from it breaking down a lot, whenever I took the kids to school the squirrels would dash out from the side of the road and commit suicide under the front wheels. This happened way too frequently, at one point it was up to about a squirrel per day. When TWO in one 15 minute trip cast themselves under the Juggernaut, I decided it was time to take action.
    I went to church and got the priest to bless the van with holy water.
    We didn’t squash another squirrel. Not a single one. We kept the thing probably another year and then traded it in on something that didn’t have constant recalls.
    Now here’s the kicker: it was Episcopal priest ’cause we weren’t Catholic then.
    So, whazzup widdat?

  24. xsosdid says:

    Well there you have it: Episcopal priests are agents of the devil.

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