Monday, April 19, 2010

Foxy's First "Words"!

It was so exciting. I've never heard Foxy make any sound before. I went over to the park late today. I had not been there for several days, due to a heavy schedule. Foxy's area was pretty empty. I fed the couple of grays that showed up, then walked around the empty space calling for Foxy. I crossed the sidewalk and went over to look in the cherry trees, as that was the last place I'd seen her.

Suddenly I heard a very loud sound coming from the winter tree (the tall tree by the bushes that a lot of them seemed to be living in all winter). I looked up to see who was producing the cacophany and it was none other than Foxy! She was not in distress, but crowing joyfully! She was making that classic squirrel sound - that sort of chuck chuck sound that every squirrel NEEDS to be able to make. I was so proud of her! She not only came when called, but she actually spoke! I like to think it was because she was glad to see me...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sick Squirrel Caught

With the help of a tenant, Bernie managed to find and trap the squirrel with the goppy stuff covering his face, ear and eye (see more pictures in the Sick Squirrel post below). A lot of it dropped off with the peroxide bath he was given, and it looks like he should be ready to be released in a couple of weeks. We don't know what it is, but we don't think it's mange. Maybe a fungus?

Salad Days

As I was cutting across the park on my way to the grocery store, I saw Foxy darting into one of the big flowering cherry trees. I went over and found Foxy already up in the branches with her mouth full of pink petals! Then I noticed that the tree was swarming with squirrels. Everyone and their mother was there! Each looking for a bite to eat. The squirrels eat "salad" on days when they don't get "steak"!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Kissed a Squirrel!

Well not really, but almost -- I could have, I was that close.  Bernie brought his new little Babygirl over to PCV in a shoulder bag. I actually got to hold her! And it would not have been hard to kiss that tiny pink V each time she yawned. This was the first time I've held a squirrel, so it was a real thrill. She is so precious. She only opened her eyes a few days ago. She is very curious and alert, but very calm and not afraid at all. Her gray and white coloring is beautiful, and she has a perfect little tail with a white stripe running through it. Sort of looks like a chipmunk tail. But she is all squirrel! She gets fed very well - all sorts of fruits and veggies and eggs are in her liquid diet. And because of that her fur is soft and shiny. I'm in love! And I'm going to need another Babygirl fix real soon.

Bernie put her down on the grass for a few minutes and she seemed to like that. Then he put her back into the shoulder bag where she was ensconced in tissues. He then bent down and started feeding all the squirrels that were circling around. He didn't realize that Babygirl had crawled out of her bag and along his arm to have a looksee, and there she was sitting on his wrist watch, watching all the commotion as the big squirrels darted to and fro for nuts. It was quite an outing for her! I would have pictures but my camera ran out of gas. Next time...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Flowers

It's good to be back to normal April temps now, in the 60's and 70's. Much better in my opinion, my favorite weather, and the favorite weather of the squirrels. They don't like it when it gets too hot. And they definitely don't enjoy the cold!

We've been treated to the flowering cherry and apple trees etc. for a couple of weeks now, but today was a big breakthrough day when the pale green leaves started appearing on all the trees, turning Peter Cooper Village into a veritable paradise in the heart of New York City.
The playing field of Foxy and his friends has turned into plush green grass, strewn with violets. Lovely!

Unfortunately I saw another sick squirrel today, with those horrid red spots all over his back. Or could it have been the little one that disappeared after the big snowstorm? I was standing there for over half an hour feeding him and Foxy, both of whom kept eating nut after nut, like the nuts were keeping them warm. Foxy was sneezing and trembling from the cold, but couldn't seem to get enough to eat. All the larger squirrels had retired to their (relatively) warm holes and only the two little ones were out there with me. And a whole bunch of PCV kids, who were sledding and making snow balls. Suddenly giant snowflakes started falling and it was so beautiful!

I never saw that little gray squirrel again after that, and assumed he had died. But was that him back today? Either that or a squirrel that looked just like him...spots and all. He was acting very friendly like he knew me, and I fed him coconut and walnuts and grapes, as well as peanuts.

Squirrels are magic like that. They disappear, then they reappear. Sometimes a squirrel will seem to dissolve into a tree, as if the bark liquifies, allowing it to pass through to a secret realm where we cannot go.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sick Squirrel

The weather has been unseasonably warm this week, and dry. When walking around I saw several squirrels lounging around. I had to go up to them to see if they were ill. One woman was on her cellphone while a squirrel lounged next to her on a bench. She was laughing as she told someone that she had this squirrel that was chillin' beside her!


The squirrels are no longer suffering from the cold weather, and they're surrounded by budding trees, shrubs and flowers, but now they get hot and thirsty, and have no readily available water supply.
The Baby Tree
I saw the babies today - Oatmeal and Duckling! They did not eat that much, and quickly disappeared, but at least I know they are still around. Their "spots" do not seem to be worse, but these cysts or boils are insidious things that are often internal, and full of pus and smelly, as we know from the ones we caught. They don't seem as happy and playful as they should be at their age. Mr. Operator's lesion has completely healed up. I've been feeding him lots of fresh coconut.

Sick Squirrel
Now here's a little fellow with a new problem. Here he is eating with Foxy looking on. I gave him fresh coconut, grapes and various nuts today. 

You can click on the picture, then click it a second time to enlarge it.  His left eye and ear are completely occluded. I'd like to find out what this is, and any comments would be appreciated. Here are more pictures:

I tought I taw a puddy tat

Springtime is lovely, walking around Peter Cooper Village, breathing in the perfume of all the flowering trees and bushes. Only one problem -- the nice weather brings all the dogs out. Every time you turn around, you see another dog being walked. It's stressful on the squirrels!

I was out there today when suddenly the squirrels were all atwitter over on the north side of the east park. I walked over to find out what was causing such a racket. One squirrel led the pack, making a funny noise that was a cross between a wail and the "chuck chuck" squirrel sound, its tail twirling like a pinwheel as it advanced down its tree. Once the alert had been sounded other squirrels chimed in, and it became a cacophony of frightened squirrel sounds.

I looked around for a hawk. The squirrels usually will sense one before I see it. But no... no sign of a big bird anywhere. Finally I saw the object of their attention -- and it was quite far away, by the back wall of building 6. I was surprised they had even seen it, as squirrels do not have very good eyesight. It was a very large tabby -- probably the largest cat I'd ever seen! And it was walking without a leash, its mistress nearby. It turned out to be 13 year old Riley, out enjoying the beautiful weather. Riley was curious about his surroundings, but did not pay much attention to the squirrels, who were not paying Riley the same respect. Eventually he walk right over towards the tree where the leader of the band was poised, causing the squirrel to go totally bananas. At that point I thought there might actually be a confrontation, as there sometimes will be with a hawk, but Riley finally turned and left, after which it took me a long time to calm down the little fellow, who could not stop making his noises. It seemed to be a reflex action, sort of like having the hiccups. I kept feeding him, but he continued to cry as he ate, until finally on the pecan that he stopped crying. He'd probably never had a pecan before, and it took his entire concentration.

I thought it was odd that the squirrels gave such a reception to a cat, because when a dog appears they simply run up the nearest tree. They reserve their caterwauling for the big birds, who they know as predators. So -- I wondered how they were able to distinguish Riley from a dog, especially from such a distance, and why they deemed Riley to be a predator. Another squirrel mystery. They obviously have some sort of 6th sense.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Memorium

This post is in memory of the little squirrels that didn't make it through the winter. The little angels that were only on this earth a few short months, and that bore the brunt of winter without ever knowing the joys of spring. They had the mystery disease, whatever it is, and the storms were the tipping factor that caused the die-offs.

The little creatures just could not make it through the rough weather with their already weakened immune systems. It saddens me. We did our best and most squirrels came through it, but often the little ones died.

Then when we thought we were out of the woods, we were hit this week with cold weather and terrible rainstorms that lasted days and caused flooding on Long Island that is just now starting to recede. We worry about the newborns who have not yet made their appearance in the world. Between this strange illness that's very communicable and the recent rainstorms, will there be any babies this spring? We just don't know.

We'd been been worrying that we'd lost our last batch of babies because we hadn't seen them since last Monday while feeding them during a lull in the rains. These are the sweet little gray babies with that feathery fur that makes them look more like ducklings than squirrels. They have pink spots under their fur, but they had so far survived. Well I saw them today, out sunning themselves on The Baby Tree! It was a true spring day, absolutely gorgeous, and they were finally out enjoying the weather. I wish them a Happy Spring... they deserve it.