I’ve had some interesting visitors lately.
A few weeks ago, a mourning dove spent the day pecking around in my backyard. I hoped it would return and bring some friends but I haven’t seen it since.
A Pileated Woodpecker (above) came to visit my suet feeder but refused to pose against a nice background for me. I haven’t seen it since but there are a lot of them in the neighborhood, so I’m bound to get a good photo of one eventually.
About two weeks ago, a small bunch (six or seven) Pine Siskins started hanging out at my feeders.
Pine Siskins are cute little birds but they’re trouble. They’re so easy to kill that they bring more heartache than joy. They fly into the windows (windows which are so warped and stained that no other birds fly into them) and they’re so easy to kill. Daniel can walk up to the feeder and pet them so you can imagine what easy prey they are for Trouble and Scooby. I think they’ve left now and I’m glad. Finding one headless corpse was enough.
Last week, a most welcome and utterly adorable visitor appeared. The little red squirrel!
I was giddy with excitement. I mean, just look at the little guy (or gal)! Heart melting cuteness! I took about forty pictures of the little critter but I don’t see how to create a photo gallery with this new, touchy editor so you’re spared. For now. 🙂
I watched Little Red for hours. I wondered what would happen when it met up with one of the gray squirrels, which are about twice the size. I finally got my answer when one of the gray squirrels ran onto the deck and was chased round and round my table by Little Red!
I worried about Trouble and Scooby going after Little Red. They live peacefully with the gray squirrels but the gray squirrels are so much bigger. Scooby sat with me while I watched Little Red (he seems to enjoy feeding the squirrels with me now) and didn’t show any interest until Little Red went up in the tree and squeaked. That high-pitched sound piqued Scooby’s interest and woke Trouble from his afternoon nap. I locked them in and sat watching, worried as they took turns batting at all the squirrels through the glass.
The next day, I watched for Little Red. He/she showed up in the late afternoon while Trouble and Scooby were sleeping. I took more pictures and stood watching in the open slider while Little Red ate out of the swing feeder 6-8′ away. Suddenly, a light-colored flash streaked by. I saw Little Red bail off the feeder and disappear just as a flurry of spotted feathers flew right at the railing, then disappeared. It was a hawk!
I was so shocked and worried for Little Red that I smacked my camera lens on the door. I finally collected my senses enough to put my camera down and I put on my boots and went out into the yard to see if I could spot the hawk or Little Red. There was no sign of the hawk but I saw a streak of dark fur dart under a stack of tires under our deck. I hoped it was Little Red but, with another, most unwelcome, visitor that I’ve noticed hanging around lately, I couldn’t be sure.
Yes, we have rats in our neighborhood. There have always been a few little garden rats living in the greenbelts but we’ve seen more (and bigger) rats since a flipper bought and cleaned up the recluse/hoarder house down the street. Trouble and Scooby probably would have finished them off if they were allowed outside at night but we can’t let them out at night because of the coyotes. It’s crazy! There is more wildlife in this suburban neighborhood than I ever saw growing up in the sticks.
The next day I was very happy to see Little Red back. I still watch for him but I figure if he can get away from a hawk that flew in so fast I couldn’t see anything more than a streak, he can get away from Fat Trouble and Pansy Scooby. I don’t even worry about Frosty. He hasn’t killed anything in at least a decade.
As if two kinds of squirrels, rats, coyotes, hawks (and Daniel tells me he’s been hearing owls) aren’t enough, I heard a noise on the deck the other night and looked up to see two black and white striped faces looking back at me. The raccoons are back! I haven’t seen a raccoon in my yard since 2008, when we got Baby Dog.
Unfortunately, Smarty smelled the raccoons and now he frequently wants out at night and the cats sometimes hide under the table and dart out the door with him. It’s a zoo around here!