Sunday, April 24, 2011

Split Level Trap?

I heard that they had cut down a big tree over at Union Square Park, and that the part that was still lying on the ground offered a rare opportunity to see inside a squirrel house-- something we had always wondered about. So on Easter Sunday I decided to walk over to USP and have a look. It was alternating between sunshine and sprinkles, but was pleasantly warm and a nice day for a stroll.

First I found what was left of the tree:

Then I made my way over to the log house. There it was!

It was quite interesting, having three separate entrances/exits:

center and right holes:

center and left holes:

It was Easter Sunday and the park was jampacked with people. As I arrived it was barely  sprinkling. Then the sprinkles changed to April showers -- still very light, not enough to deter squirrels, but you know how people are. The raindrops felt refreshingly cool as I witnessed the great exodus from the park. I stood there bemused as the hordes stampeded for the exits, umbrellas popping open everywhere. The people had come prepared!  I laughed as I easily located an empty bench that afforded a ringside seat for viewing the goings on around the log house. And the squirrels were putting on quite a show!

They were playing like kids on a playground, but also seemed fascinated and awed and afraid, as they tried to figure out what the heck was going on here.
Was it some kind of newfangled split level housing accomodations? OR could it be...
a split level trap??

Squirrels do tend to be wary and are always on the lookout for traps. As I watched, they kept approaching the various entrances, nosing about to examine the log, looking as if they were juuust about to go in, then veering off at the  moment of truth. Playing chicken.

Finally one squirrel, in a daring display of derring-do, dive-bombed into the lower  hole on the right, and immediately exited out of the upper hole on the left, in one smooth move as only a squirrel could do it! Sorry, didn't manage to catch that on camera :)

And now for the pièce de résistance - what I'd been waiting for -  a peek at the interior decorating habits of squirrels. I slipped over the fence and managed to get these fascinating glimpses of the inside of a squirrel's drey before a Parks Dept. official caught me on the wrong side of the fence and kicked me out:

I'm no expert, but it looks a bit like Modern Art. I did manage to ascertain that there were no babies inside.

Oh, and I also managed to feed a few squirrels while I was there. Boy, do they have some scraggly squirrels in USP :(


Easter Bunny?

Who, me? 

Read more about the little darling here.  
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mr. Operator R.I.P.

We lost Mr. Operator today. Bernie found him lying by the base of one of the big trees. 

His nose was bloodied so it seems that he fell from the tree. Yes, it was Mr. Operator. We were able to identify him by his blind eye. 

 When we found him he was dead and getting stiff, but his body was still warm. What a big, beautiful squirrel he was! 

There was a terrible storm last night, with thunder and lightening and a fierce wind.  I can't help but wonder if it didn't somehow weaken him.   In the past I've thought that maybe he had arthritis, and perhaps the storm exacerbated it, causing him to lose his footing on the tree. It could also have been a fight with another squirrel that caused him to fall. 

It's  a shame that he made it through all the rough weather of the long winter, only to die at the break of spring, with the promise of good times in the air. 

In fact I had just recently blogged about Mr. Operator, and how he was already starting to enjoy the spring weather.

What a character!  And what a sad day for us, losing our old friend. 

I think we were meant to find him. We left him there under the hedges so his spirit could take its time leaving. 

Goodbye, Mr. Oppie!   

We will miss you. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spunky had babies!

 Who knew?

And she's very hungry! Where are those nuts?

Ah, that's better!

 Or maybe she's just about to have the babies. I'm not sure if nipples develop before or after giving birth. She certainly didn't look as big as she did last time. Spunky had babies last summer. It hasn't even been a year!  


What, me healed? No way!

But I am looking a lot better, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Vinegar Hill

This week we were fortunate to be able to attend the Hands-on Infant and Juvenile Squirrel Care Workshop held at Vinegar Hill Veterinary. Our instructor was Barbara Bellens-Picon, one of the top squirrel rehabbers/instructors in the country.

Now that Spring is here there will be, unfortunately, babies falling from trees. If for some reason their mothers don't pick them up and get them back into the nest, we need to rescue them and take care of them until they're big enough to be released back to the wild.

This workshop showed us how to care for and feed the babies. There will be another workshop this coming Tuesday, April 12. You can register here:
click on a picture to enlarge it

Basket of squirrels

Learning how to do it

Feeding a pinky

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cutie Pie - Then and Now

Spring's arriving, the weather is still chilly for the most part, but so much better, and the tree buds and bark are providing squirrels with food, so they don't have to wait for us to arrive. However, we continue to minister to those "casualties of winter" that need special attention. Here's  Cutie Pie, who as can be seen, is doing much better in just a matter of days. This may be a bad case of mange.What had been an ugly red sore on her back is now pink and healing nicely.  Notice how her ears are pushed back.

Click on a Picture to Enlarge

April 3 - raw, red and ugly

April 6 - so much better in just 3 days!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry Blossom Time

April is always a lovely time at Peter Cooper Village. Take a walk into Spring with us!

The good news is that squirrels eat cherry blossoms and all sorts of buds. This squirrel goes out on a limb to eat buds:

We can start to scale down our Feed the Squirrels Project as Mother Nature begins to provide nourishment for the little creatures that were so battered by the fierce storms of winter.

Squirrel Feeders

A couple of  On the Ground members of the Feed the Squirrels Project:

It's beginning to look a lot like Easter!