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

Relaxing

I’ve found that even squirrels sometimes need to find a quiet place, away from the hurry and scurry, to rest and be alone.

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”  ~Mark Black

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.”  ~Donna Karan

“Stop a minute, right where you are …
Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.”
~Barbara Kingsolver

 

“Even when in the midst of disturbance, the stillness of the mind can offer sanctuary.”  ~Stephen Richards

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.  So relax.”  ~Bryant McGill

“Like a small gray coffee pot sits the squirrel.”  ~Humbert Wolfe

A Leaf Nest

I’ve been watching this nest for some time, pretty sure that it belonged to one of the Eastern gray squirrel families that frequent our yard.  It’s carefully positioned in a fork between a stout pine limb and the main trunk and was constructed out of sticks, pine needles, leaves and other natural materials.  It is in a perfect place for a nest because of its proximity to a bird feeder and an endless supply of pine cones.

This afternoon, I spied a squirrel exiting the nest.  It positioned itself on a forked branch below the nest which afforded it a wide view of our yard.  Seeing that the coast was clear,  it eased down the side of the tree and over to the feeder for a snack of sunflower seeds before heading to the birdbath for a quick drink.

Shortly after the first squirrel left the tree, a second one also came out of the nest, sitting a while on a nearby branch before heading to the forked overlook for a careful survey of the yard.  Feeling safe, it too carefully climbed down the side of the tree and headed to a feeder — ever mindful of the watch dog who faithfully guards the yard.

“But when it comes to living there is no place like home.”  ~Henry van Dyke

Backyard squirrels

What a quiet place our yard would be without the activity of the squirrels as they scurry among the pine trees.  At this time of the year, they are particularly busy collecting or munching on seeds and nuts.

“People look at me like I’m a little strange, when I go around talking to squirrels and rabbits and stuff.  That’s ok.  That’s just ok.”  ~Bob Ross

Hiding in plain sight

At times, the squirrels in our backyard are a flurry of activity as they chase each other around the pine trees and search for seeds under the feeders.  At other times, they rest quietly among the branches, attempting to blend into their surroundings and remain concealed.

“The best place to hide is in plain sight.”  ~Edgar Allan Poe

Fearless

Fearlessly, this little fox squirrel came bounding onto the scene as I was looking at ice structures around the lake.   Scavenging along the shore, he seemed quite at ease with my presence, and stuck several poses as he causally moved about.

“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.  Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.”  ~Sydney Smith

Busy squirrels

I wish I had a dollar for every pecan tree seedling that I have pulled out of the flower pots in my backyard.  The squirrels have a habit of bringing pecans from other people’s yards and burying them in the pots on our deck in the fall.  Then in the spring, when the squirrels fail to retrieve them, the nuts sprout and grow.  Our backyard is too small to support pecan trees, but I’m pretty sure that we would have a whole grove by now if we had planted them all.

“Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who plant nuts, then forget where they hid them.  Do good and forget.  It’ll grow some day.”  ~Anonymous

Checking to see if the coast is clear

We startled this little squirrel as it was searching for food at the base of a tree in a state park.  It frantically scampered up the tree trunk and hid on the other side.  As we continued walking, I looked back and caught it peeking out to see if the coast was all clear.

“When I die of heart failure the next time you frighten me like that, you can put that on my gravestone — ‘I didn’t mean to startle her.'”  ~Patricia Briggs

Curiosity

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I was watching this squirrel scamper about in a pine tree, when suddenly he stopped and turned to look at me.  I guess that we were both a little curious.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.  There is no cure for curiosity.”  ~Dorothy Parker