Li’l Red and Other Visitors


Last week I had several unusual visitors to my back yard. The most exciting was the little red squirrel (more officially called the Douglas squirrel and also called a chickaree or pine squirrel) in the photo above. While we are pretty much overrun with the large Eastern Gray squirrel, it’s rare to see a red squirrel. In the fourteen years that I’ve lived here, I’ve only seen a red squirrel in my neighborhood three times, although I’ve spotted them in the more upscale neighborhood adjacent to mine a few times over the past two years. (Apparently, they are snobs!)

I was so excited to see one in the birch tree next to the bird/squirrel feeder.  “It’s Li’l Red!” I shouted to no one. I quickly grabbed my camera and started snapping. Then I heard a growl and a black streak shot past me, ending at the base of the birch tree. Trouble (my black and white cat) materialized out of the streak and sat there twitching his tail. He stared at Li’l Red with his most blood-thirsty, wide-eyed stare and I felt my hope of having a red squirrel join my dray evaporate. While Trouble has never bothered the gray squirrels, he clearly saw Li’l Red as prey. I retrieved Trouble and locked him in the house, then watched as Li’l Red looked around and, finding no food, climbed over the fence and out of my yard. I wanted to feed and befriend Li’l Red so bad but I knew I couldn’t. 😦

Other visitor was this olive green/yellow bird that I never did get a very good photo of.


I have no idea what it is. When the flash of yellow first caught my eye, I thought it was a female goldfinch but then I realized it was much too big. It came to the feeder for three or four days and I haven’t seen it since. I guess it was just passing through, whatever it was.

I also spotted these two birds splashing in the bird bath.



I’m guessing that they are juvenile robins but I suppose they could be another type of thrush. I was hoping to see more of them but they haven’t been back.

Strangely, Trouble didn’t show any interest in these birds. I’m so glad he and Scooby have lost interest in bird hunting. I’ve enjoyed watching birds in the bird bath and I’d like to be able to keep water in it so they continue to visit. But, poor Li’l Red had better not come back!


19 thoughts on “Li’l Red and Other Visitors

  1. Love your pictures. Look in the Orioles for your yellow bird. My first thought was goldfinch but the eye ring is wrong and so are wing marks. Large a robin an Oriole is a good guess. Your guess about the robins is correct. My blog has plenty of animals on it.

    1. I will look up Orioles. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any variety of them around here but our weather has been so strange the past year it wouldn’t surprise me if we got some unusual visitors.

      1. What many people don’t realize the fires that destroyed the southeastern parts of Idaho, southwest area of Oregon and eastern area of Washington state destroy a lot of food crrops for birds another animals. We are already seeing a different pattern her in the western states. The fires cover a lot grassland and forest area not a lot of population. The one in Idaho burned through cattle country. Many ranchers lost part of their herds. Expect a raise in beef prices.

        1. I didn’t think about that – that birds that normally live east of the mountains might come over here looking for food since so much of their habitat got destroyed. Between that and the crazy weather over the last year, I suppose we could see some different birds.

          It breaks my heart to think of all the animals that must have been killed by the wildfires. 😦

          1. I follow several birding sites.Birds not normally seen in the area are being reported. The Soda Creek fire burned through the Owhyee area. Homes were ranchers but it kill a lot cattle and wild horses.😱

  2. I really tried, but I can’t ID the bird and now I’m a little obsessed. With your permission I could post the photo and get help from others through the website for the bird app I use.

    I don’t think it’s an oriole because the Bullocks doesn’t have an eyering and the bird in the photo has one.

    1. Sure, you’re welcome to post it! I’m really curious now too. I wish I could have gotten better photos. I think there was another one that was a lot more yellow but it was just a quick flash in the trees so I can’t be sure it was as yellow as I thought it was. I’m going to look for my bird identification book. I’ll let you know if I come up with any ideas about what it could be. Tanager popped into my mind when I saw it but it didn’t have any red like the scarlet or western tanagers.

      1. Yeah, I thought maybe a female western tanager, but there were a couple things that didn’t seem quite right. There can be so much variation in the wild though. I’ll get back to you if I get any answers from more expert birders.

  3. I dub Lil’ Red “Doug E. Squirrel”. Poor fella. Maybe Trouble thought he was another cat?

    I love watching birds in birdbaths 😉

  4. Interesting, I wonder why Lil’ Red A.K.A Doug E. Squirrel didn’t like the food that are out for the grey squirrels. Perhaps you need some squirrel caviar from the upscale neighborhood.

  5. I’m on the other side of the world, but I might add……don’t forget about hybrids…..your bird could easily be exactly what you think, but some just a ‘cross’. I’ve got shots of at least 2 dabbling ducks that don’t quite match any in my Australian Bird Guide, but I’ve finally decided they are hybrids and exactly what I id’d in the first place, just slightly different feather colouring/pattern.

    1. That’s a really good point! It would explain why it looks so familiar to me but its markings don’t quite match anything I’ve seen before or can find in guides.

    1. It does seem the red squirrels are a bit snobbish! Li’l Red probably didn’t even drive his little red Corvette down into my slum for fear of it getting burgled while he was out looting the gray squirrel’s food.

  6. I only got one response for the bird ID, but since she was also thinking a female or immature Western Tanager I think we should go with that. The more I’ve thought about it the less likely it is any other bird.

    1. Thank you for posting it to see if anyone else had any ideas. Western Tanager does seem like the closest match to me but then I don’t think I’ve ever seen one outside of the bird guide before. I’ve been watching for it but still haven’t spotted it again. It must have moved on. 😦

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