Posted by: David | June 14, 2007

Wild Kingdom

We just had a flurry of wildlife events that were kinda cool. We’re chillin’ out in the early evening before dusk, and there are mad bird cries just outside our window. They go on for a few minutes and as I look out the window, I see a red squirrel running down an oak tree with a young bird in its mouth. That was the bird that had been screaming. A bunch of other birds are mobbing the squirrel. The squirrel runs to hide with its prey just under a giant wild rose bush, where it’s visible with binoculars, busily tearing away at what I think was a young woodpecker. We finally decided the next morning that it had been a yellow bellied sapsucker.

crimescene2.jpg
The crime scene. You can almost see the pile of feathers.

So  the wife and the dog (yes, the rodent-crazed Oliver) come out to see what’s going down. The squirrel is not happy that I interrupted his dinner. He runs up the nearest pine tree to glare at me.

squirrel2.jpg
The perp: “HEY, I was EATING that sapsucker!”

Meanwhile an oriole alights in a small, nearby birch.

oriole.jpg
Red squirrels don’t eat birds do they? Whaddya mean OMNIVOROUS?!

The squirrel sees the oriole and actually hops over to the birch tree to chase after it! What the hell is going on here? Squirrels Gone Wild!

squirrel1.jpg
MMMmmm, tastes like chicken!

This is all just crazy enough. I shake the birch tree and the squirrel actually falls out, nearly landing on my wife, but Oliver is not quick enough to catch it. Meanwhile there’s some noise from the woods to the north. We go over there and there are a couple of grey foxes running through! I could not get a picture though, they were too fleeting. As I’m going back in the house, there’s the female cardinal at the feeder. I get a couple of over-zoomed shots of her.

femalecardinal2.jpg
The female cardinal eating sunflower seeds.

ulookinat.jpg
Whadda YOU lookin at!?

Did I mention how much pollen we have been experiencing here? The pines are pollenating now, and every puddle and car is covered with yellow dust. The pines outside our bedroom window are covered with the little catkins that release the pollen. We bring one inside and set it on a window sill. It drops its pollen in a pile underneath.

pinepollen.jpg
Lotsa pollen.

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Responses

  1. Hey David, that is cool, if completely gross. Drop the picture of the dead bird I reckon, and leave it to the readers imagination! But I love the commentary and nature at its “red in tooth in claw” moment. Just last week, I saw a heron gobble down a large fish from my local canal on my way home from work. I didn’t see him catch the fish, which would have been more dramatic, but to see him swallow it down was incredible.

  2. shazgood, thanks for the comment. You reckon well dear reader, so I revised the post with a less graphic photo.

    For you CSI fans who’d like to examine the corpse a little more closely, please click here to open the gross dead bird picture.

  3. Ewww. I’m glad I didn’t get a chance to read this until post-revision.

    Wicked nice Oriole photo, by the way! The sky is so washed out it looks like commercial stock photography.

    On the subject of orioles, check out http://www.kingdomofloathing.com. You don’t have to play long, just sign up and play the intro quest.

  4. Well that was an interesting diversion. I got to be Ronald Reagan and fight with a fluffy bunny. Looks like I need a lot more meat to get anywhere with The Toot. Hmmmm. Is this what you people do on the internet???!!! I can’t find the bubble gum on a string!

    BTW, thanks for the compliment on the oriole photo- lucky shot … its “stockiness” was unintended, and a product of Canon digital zoom, JPEG compression, and Microsoft Office 2007 Picture Manager “Auto Correct” and Compress for Web Page functions, if you must know.

  5. I for one liked the gross bird picture. Maybe not right before dinner, especially for you carnivores out there, but interesting nonetheless. If Keath is reading this, he’s laughing his ass off, since in real (non-photographed life) he has to lead me around mangled animals on hiking trails because I close my eyes or look up. Anyway, I had no idea red squirrels ate birds. I thought they were strictly nutatarians. Oooh, I’d like to be a Nutellaarian. Sorry, allergy meds aren’t working anymore – all that pollen you mentioned.

  6. Yeah! Like I said, squirrels gone wild! Who’da thunk it- omnivorous squirrels. Sure, we think they eat nuts and acorns. BUT NO!!

    THEY.

    EAT.

    FLESH!!

    Maybe it’s not really an American red squirrel, which, according to Wikipedia, for “Food Habits”, will sometimes eat “animal material such as bird eggs (Willson, et al. 2003).” HEY, Wilson, et al. 2003! This time the squirrel ATE THE BIRD!

    I think that Alfred Hitchcock should, after rolling over in his grave, rise from the dead, make a big Hollywood comeback, and direct the horror movie of the 2nd millenium:

    THE SQUIRRELS™

    Ceridwen, would you please call Tippi Hedren right away? I think that if you tell her your name is Ceridwen, that she will agree to star in the horror movie of the 2nd millenium:

    THE SQUIRRELS™

  7. Why, Dave, how did you know?! I have Tippi on speed dial. We go way back.

  8. You know, I’m not really sure how I knew. That’s the wonderful thing about growing older and wiser. Inspiration just strikes every now and again, like canker sores, but less often.

    Anywho, please let me know what Tippi thinks of the whole idea …


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