Sunday, March 27, 2011

Le Menu

appetizer: ripe avocado slice

plat du jour: pam's pecan coconut ball

dessert: fresh blueberries

sides: peanuts in the shell, cashews, almonds

The table was set at maison d'├ęcureuil. There was only one problem: the guest of honor didn't show up.

Where, oh where is Patches?

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It was a treat to meet one of this blog's fans and a donor to the Feed the Squirrels Project,  who wanted to feed the squirrels up close and personal before he departed for his new job with Mozilla in Sunnyvale, California. Dan Gherman got to know a lot of the squirrels at PCV through the blog. We'll miss you Dan, but hopefully you're only a blog away.

The Meet & Greet Team: a sizable turnout for Dan

I brought goodies: peanuts and hazelnuts

Dan meets squirrel expert Bernie Goetz

Luring a squirrel

He's got them eating out of his hand!

Patches comes by to say hi

Patches can crack a hazelnut. Who knew? 

Hey, these nuts are tasty!

Goodby Dan, and best wishes with your new job and your new home. And please let us know all about those California Squirrels!

Dan is a nature lover and an animal lover and a lover of culture, and he has some really great pictures on his blog: Jurnal de State

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Madness

We had a terrible storm of snow and rain on Wednesday. All through the night you could hear the hail beating against the windows.  Alongside that we have the buds on the Japanese cherry trees ready to burst into bloom, and the other cherry trees already flowering. And the purple crocuses peeping out of the ground. What a strange time.

I've been worrying about Patches. One day all the wounds look healed, the next they are angry red welts again, and I'm asking Bernie to come catch her. Bernie comes over with the net, but five minutes before he gets there she disappears into her hole. The next day her angry welts are healed again, like magic! 

This squirrel has a most incredible spirit. I have a theory about this. All our squirrels that have names seem to survive better. You'd think they don't know they have names, but I think they do, and I think it means something to them. I always immediately call them by name when I see them -- Spunky, Mr. Operator, Tubby, Foxy, Brownie-- and now, Patches. When I call Foxy she runs to me from afar, as does Spunky. When I go to the Orange Tree, Patches appears magically out of nowhere. I think it increases their sense of security, enhances their drive to survive.

After Wednesday's storm we were out there feeding them, but did not see Patches. I'm worried, and wondering if she made it through the storm.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flo's Magical, Medicinal Wild Balls

Flo, a friendly neighborhood wildlife rehabber, brought  over her wonderful  wild balls for some of our sick squirrels.

Munching on Wild Balls and Blueberries

Don't do this at home
Actually you can do it, you just have to make sure that a squirrel does not get more than one dose of ivermectin, as more than that could harm the squirrel. Two weeks later they should have a booster ball.  The balls are a paste of walnuts, pecans and organic coconut oil made in a blender, with a single drop of ivermectin injected into the center. By all indications, they were delicious. The squirrels gobbled them up. We gave them to quite a few squirrels, including our three sick little ones that we are watching very carefully. The one we call Ringo has the disease in the form of a ring on his leg, the one called Patches  has it across his backside and the one called Calico has the rings around her neck. Ouch! We're hoping that they will all be getting better and better as the days go by.




Flo's blog has some wonderful squirrel pictures:

Friday, March 18, 2011

It’s nuts but I love you: One squirrel’s bizarre obsession with a garden statue of a dog

A squirrel’s fascination with a statue of a dog has brought hours of light entertainment to a Russian suburb.

The frisky rodent looked confused as to why the dog wasn’t moving and cannot seem to get its head around the fact that it is an ornament and not real.

The picture was taken by a photographer in the garden of his house just outside of Moscow.

Obsession: A red squirrel in a Moscow garden became fascinated with a statue of a dog when it couldn’t work out why it did not move like a real animal.

Furry Love: The squirrel eventually became affectionate with the canine ornament and planted it with a kiss.
The home-owner said: ‘The squirrel became fascinated by the dog; it was climbing all over the statue and seemed to be trying to work out what it was’.
He added: ‘At one point the squirrel looked directly into the statue’s face as if it was expecting a reaction’.

The squirrel enjoyed jumping all over the dog and going on its hind legs to get a closer look.

What are you: The photographer who captured the images said the squirrel looked directly into the statue’s face as if expecting a reaction

Fun times: The squirrel enjoyed jumping all over the dog and going on its hind legs to get a closer look.
The furry animal even at one point appeared to kiss the statue, leaping from a set of stairs to latch on to dog and pucker up.

With similar looking coats of orange and brown hues, maybe the squirrel felt a deep sense of familiarity with the statue although it was more than five times its size.

Showing off its acrobatic manouevres, the friendly squirrel jumped on his new pal’s head and peered into its mouth, looking perilously close as if it was going to fall off at one point.
Tiring work: Exhausted after lots of acrobatics the squirrel perched on top of the dog to crunch on its nut

The squirrel managed to check out the statue all with a nut in its mouth which he crunched into when he had exhausted his inspection and needed to take a break.

Red squirrels are common throughout Eurasia but its numbers have decreased greatly because of the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America.

They have a life expectancy of 3 years when living in the wild if they survive their first winter.

Read more:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top O' The Mornin' To Ya!

To all Irish squirrels - and to all squirrels that have a bit o' the Irish in 'em :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Signs of Spring on the Bowling Green

You know Spring is in the air when you can see squirrels having fun instead of worrying about survival, which is what I observed today. Henceforth, the area by the east flagpole is going to be called The Bowling Green.

I burst out laughing as I watched Mr. Operator out there on the green acting like a bowling ball, using a few other squirrels as pins! His game was to charge a squirrel and send it flying up into the air! The squirrels didn't run off, and continued their foraging close by until they were sent flying again, so I guess they didn't mind being bowling pins! In fact maybe it was fun. Wheeeee! As much fun as a carnival ride for a squirrel!

How Mr. Operator got his name

When we first met up with this squirrel two years ago, he'd always chase the other squirrels away so only he would get the nut. He didn't have time to stop and eat, so he'd hastily bury the nut nearby then run back to keep the other squirrels at bay.  At first I thought he was a greedy, selfish squirrel that needed to be taught a lesson,  Bernie just happened to have his net with him that day so we decided to catch him and punish him by humiliating him in front of the other squirrels. Mr. Operator obliged. Unlike other squirrels, he was an easy catch. The squirrel knows no fear. He's been known to climb onto my lap to get to the nut bag, while I'm distracted by something else. 

He didn't exactly enjoy being nettted of course, but he didn't panic either, and emerged cool, calm and unscathed. His behavior didn't change, however. I  soon came to appreciate him as a squirrel with personality. I thought he was a real operator, an entrepreneur who was stocking his inventory of nuts, so I named him Mr. Operator. With his one blind eye he looked like the pirate that he acted like.

Now that I know Mr. O. better I don't think it was ever about hoarding nuts. I think he enjoys being a bully and chasing the other squirrels out of his personal space, just for fun. And for even more fun, to shoot them sky high!  It's the game, and if I had it to do all over again, I guess I'd name him Gameboy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For Colored Squirrels When the Rainbow was Enuff

Yes, the rainbow of squirrels at Peter Cooper Village was already enough! We have gray squirrels and black squirrels, and some wonderful in-between squirrels who come in various red and brown hues. But this year we were treated to a few extra colors. Who knew?

First, we had the Orange family, a rather large family of squirrels that live in  what we called The Orange Tree. There are several adults -- mommas and poppas, we guess  -- and a big bunch of little ones. I was never able to count them all. They are basically gray squirrels, with orange tails and orange streaks through their fur. The little ones started out totally orange, but in the following pictures you can see the gray coming through and starting to replace the orange fur. This little one was badly devastated by the cold weather, and is still in the process of recovering. He is currently being fed every day, and has a good appetite and energy.

As if that weren't enough, we now have a very gorgeous burgundy squirrel! Quite unusual coloring that I've never really seen before. I tried to capture it on film, but she is unusually skittish and quick,  sort of like a purebred race horse. Each time I went to take her picture she moved! But I hope I got enough to show off the beautiful coloring - the deep, blue-black ebony, offset by the gorgeous burgundy.

The squirrel is suffering some nutritional deficiencies but is still beautiful and has a distinctive bearing -- a certain kind of nobility perhaps? Royalty? Imagine the babies! King Rama, we need you! (assuming it's a she)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Peanuts from Heaven

Now for a bit of good news...

As I was feeding four (yes!) black squirrels in the tree by the guard's gate yesterday, I heard a loud clattering noise that sounded like hail. Now what could that be?  I wondered. I heard it again and looked over to see golden peanuts raining down from a third floor window!

It was good to see the four black ones, who have been somewhat missing over the past few weeks (we'd see one or another, but never all of them together, so we weren't sure how many had survived the killer frostbite weather). But all the blackies are now present and accounted for.  And it's nice to know they have a handy source of food nearby...

When I went by the east flagpole today, nobody was more surprised than I when there before me stood none other than Spunky! I hadn't seen her all winter, ever since she disappeared into the fat fur coat that had entirely changed her appearance. But was I sure that it was Spunky? Absolutely!

Who could forget that face?

And of course she was her old friendly self, and as deft at catching nuts as ever. You throw a nut to Spunky, she never misses it. 

Spunky is one amazing squirrel, with a totally unique personality. She looks just like herself again and I was SO glad to see her.

And Bernie saw Mr. Operator the other day, another old friend we haven't seen all winter. More good news!

Now we just have to find Tubby...

I was staring at Foxy today (always a fun thing to do) and thinking that she seemed rather fat, when suddenly it hit me: Foxy is pregnant! I'm so excited. This will be her first litter. Can't wait for a bunch of little red Foxies :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Winds Doth Blow

But at least it's not snow!

However, the winds are fierce and still very hard on the squirrels, who took such a beating last month.
Sorry to report that we have been finding quite a few dead squirrels and ones that have been rescued are in such bad shape that they die quickly. It's just been too much for many of them. Some would say that this is nature's way of controlling the population. But I cannot buy the idea that sentient creatures should suffer so. I believe that if people were truly aware of this, that they would do something to try to prevent it. It's been very hard on Bernie, as a rescuer. I think we may have lost Tubby, Mr. Operator and Spunky this year, as I bave not seen any of them in quite a long time.

Dead Squirrel by the side of the road

Below are some of the survivors.

The surviving twin of the orange that died doesn't want to show us her bad side.

But we manage to get a peek:

 We get in close:

It's actually healing over, as it used to be an angry, raw, red welt. Thank you, Dan! You helped us feed this baby and bring her back to health. She has a ways to go yet, but her spirit is spunky and she is full of energy.

These two little guys have "the pink disease" -- a loss of fur that we're seeing everywhere now:

This is most likely mange, and it heals up nicely with good nutrition.

Assume the Position!
This little beggar has the pink "ring around the collar" that's so prevalent:

And this one has a deep gash on the side.

These guys are all gonna make it. Other squirrels who have survived nicely are Foxy and Brownie.

Here's Foxy in February after that last killer snowfall, looking a bit worse for the wear but basically healthy: