Dining Habits

It’s interesting to observe the eating habits of squirrels. Since they are not picky eaters, you never know what’s going to be on the menu.

In our yard, bird food from the feeder is the number one choice.

But one day this past week, a squirrel climbed to a high branch in one of our pine trees and proudly showed off a passion fruit that he had found.

I often see squirrels bringing pecans from other people’s yards and burying them in mine. Breaking apart the shell of nuts helps to keep their teeth sharp and is also good exercise.

Since pine cones are plentiful around our yard, I frequently see squirrels gnawing on them to get to the pine nuts.

Various plants around the yard seem to be a good source of food at different times of the year. In the late autumn and winter, squirrels enjoy munching on our holly berries.

During the spring and summer, they are often seen nibbling on leaves, blossoming flowers and fresh green shoots.

A first for me, was seeing and hearing a squirrel gnawing on a bone from high up in a tree. Apparently gnawing on bones keeps their incisors sharp and is a good source of calcium.

We saw the squirrel below in a public garden that we visited. He was pretty protective of a sunflower head that he had obtained. It was interesting to watch him tear it apart to get to the sunflower seeds.

Squirrels are busy animals and need lots of fuel to keep them going. They tend to adjust their diet to pretty much whatever is plentiful and available.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  ~Virginia Woolf

13 thoughts on “Dining Habits

  1. After reading this post I want to say “squirrels love everything from soup to nuts” … I’m sure if you gave them a cup of cold soup, they’d devour that as well. You’re right Rebecca. They are not picky eaters. Really – a bone? That would surprise me too. I like the look that fox squirrel gave you in the video – I’m sure it thought you were coming to take that treat away. You got some cute pictures stuffing their little faces too!

    • The bone was a long-lasting treat. I heard him gnawing on it for at least three days in a row up in the tree. At first the fox squirrel didn’t seem to notice us standing there. Then, as it began to notice us, it did seem to get protective of the sunflower head. Eventually, he took it up a tree. The one with the passion fruit was also really guarding it — making noise and flicking his tail.

      • They are funny to watch and are so protective of their food. That fox squirrel shot you a look like “mine, not yours!” I thought of you today Rebecca. You did a post a while back showing Cormorants sitting in trees. I was at the Wildlife Refuge today and I’ve only been to the long fishing pier area the first visit and not returned as I go to the woods and delta area instead. But today I visited the pier and saw all these black dots in the trees. I did not have binoculars and had my compact digital camera with me so maximum zoom was 12X. I zoomed in, wasn’t sure until a few flew out and I nailed it when I saw the hooked beak to I.D. it. I remembered your post. I counted 28 Double-Crested Cormorants. It was Global Big Day for bird counts, so I submitted 68 birds counted today, including a whopping 21 Killdeer. I’ve never seen more than one Killdeer at a time. The ebird.com website is going to think I made a couple of typos there. πŸ™‚

      • I’m sure they will appreciate you taking the time to count and report! The Cormorants tend to gather in groups, but I’ve never seen more than one or two Killdeer together at a time. Perhaps they are getting ready to migrate??? I’ve noticed that some of the pelicans and cormorants are back in our area now.

      • I think they’ll do a double-take for both those species! I saw three egrets and a heron too.
        (No snakes thankfully – I watch the ground in the woods.) I’ve never even seen more than one killdeer at a time and then only because I heard its funny call and looked over. They must be getting ready to migrate. I looked last night what Killdeer eat and it is mostly insects. They have a lot of pollinator areas with grasses and wildflowers and there were many wildflowers still blooming and the killdeer were flying over that. I saw Monarch butterflies which I’ve not seen all Summer – it was very warm, but I figured the Monarchs had migrated when we had the chilly spell three weeks ago. The cormorants in the tree amazed me and the trees did not have a lot of leaves, so I wondered if it they were not healthy or dead – too early to have dropped all their leaves. I am going to go back again with the bigger camera to that fishing pier again – watch … they will be gone then. I originally planned to go there today, but they started predicting rain for most of today, so at the last minute, decided to just go for this 5K virtual walk (raises money for animals at the refuges across the U.S.). I have never seen pelicans around me, but we do have the white ones as I follow a few Michigan wildlife photographers on Twitter.

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