Saturday, September 14, 2019

Squirrel Food

Fall! It's a wonderful time for squirrels: the days are cool and they're not sweltering or freezing and there's plenty of food from Nature's bounty (which means we get a vacation). Thanks be to the squirrel gods!

There's an especially large acorn harvest this year. They're strewn everywhere.

An acorn and a sweet gum ball

Polishing off a sweet gum ball

Honey  Locust
The fruit of the honey locust is a long, flat legume (pod) that matures in early autumn. The young, unripe pods, with their sweet, sticky, and aromatic pulp, are edible and contain about 12-42% sugar. 

The pale green seed pods turn reddish-brown and black, when they mature.
As they ripen, the seed pods produce a strong smell. The sticky pulp inside the pods is edible.

The large deciduous hardwood tree, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) also goes by the names redgum, sapgum, starleaf-gum and bilsted.

Up to 50 seeds can be found within each spiky ball.
They bloom with inconspicuous, yellowish-green flowers in the spring that turn to seedpods -- which are often called gumballs -- in the fall. The spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside that birds and squirrels snack on.

By mid-fall, the balls are dead and seedless.

It's a good year for  hawthorn berries this. Birds, squirrels, raccoons and rabbits like to eat fruit and seed of hawthorn.
Lots and lots of berries

A feast

Enjoying the Harvest

Optimal eating position  

Great for digestion

Monday, September 2, 2019

Life Support

Some of the squirrels are definitely having a hard time finding enough to eat. I just found this little guy yesterday and he doesn't look so good. He has a bad case of what's known as mange. I'm seeing more and more cases like this now that the new regime of not feeding squirrels has been in effect for a few months. I fed him a lot of nuts and it was as if  he couldn't get enough. He just kept eating and eating! Will I ever see him again?

The squirrels are magical creatures who seem to come out of the woodwork, then disappear again. Sometimes I get the feeling that there's a whole world of squirrels all around us that we know nothing about.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Has Anyone Seen Lady Gray Today?

Have you guys seen her?

Oh There she is!

She had disappeared for more than a week. She would do that in the past, but I think there were others feeding her then. This time she looked like she hadn't eaten in a while. I found her wandering out on the sidewalk all by herself, obviously looking for me. I've considered the possibility that she may be molting, but nevertheless, her fur looked bad and her tail looked terrible.

So I went out to feed her for 3 days in a row. And she managed to find me 3 days in a row. She knew she was in trouble. Now only 3 days later, I think she looks a lot better.

She ate everything I fed her: avocado, fresh coconut, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts -- and, of course, peanuts. The peanuts won out over everything -- no doubt about it, eating a peanut is pure bliss for a squirrel.

Pure Bliss