When I saw red skin peanuts in the bird food aisle at Meijer, I knew, despite the cost, that I had to buy them. I think I’ve now purchased four bags. It takes the birds and squirrels about four days to eat a five pound bag. I set out cracked corn, too, and any stale bread or cereal that I have. Oh, and stale cookies. As I type this, I am watching five squirrels, a junco, a female song sparrow, and blue jay of indeterminate gender feast on the peanuts. The birds pluck a peanut and take it to a branch where they dine. The squirrels just plunk themselves down and feast. Well, that’s not quite accurate. The dominant squirrel feasts. The rest scamper in, feed until the dominant squirrel decides they are done, they squabble, and the less dominant squirrel leaves in a huff. Oh, a pair of cardinals has just flown in. I wish they would stay still long enough for me to take a picture. The squirrels are the only ones who seem to do that, hence the picture below.
The squirrels that visit my gardens are fox squirrels, so named because of the reddish color on their chests. These are the squirrels you see in charming illustrations in children’s books. They are native to the Great Plains and are the largest tree squirrel in that region. Michigan isn’t exactly part of the Great Plains, but we have zillions of fox squirrels nonetheless. I have always known these squirrels. They run in an undulating way that reminds me of waves on a lake, stop, fold their tails up across their backs, and chirp and scold whoever or whatever is in their vicinity.
I have a good friend who refers to them merely as furry rodents. He claims that that chocolate kills them, and since he has discovered squirrels nesting behind the walls in his attic, he tries to kill them. I suspect he has red squirrels, notorious for taking up residence in walls and attics. I’m certain my fox squirrels would not nest where they were not invited. 🙂