Monday, September 23, 2019

State of the Squirrels

Happy Autumn Solstice, Mon Sept 23

End of Summer Assessment

So how are the squirrels doing? A lot of them seem to be missing. Sometimes when I go for a walk around there I don't see a single squirrel.

Bad Humor Man: The Case of the Grumpy Guard

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

A lot of the guards are with me -- they tell me almost apologetically that the only reason they bother me is because someone called up and complained, and it's their job to follow up on every complaint. It's their duty to recite the no feeding mantra. Not this guard, though: this guard is out to get me. He'll ride his scooter up and down the sidewalk, buzzing me. He seems to think it's his mission to not just enforce the rules, but to wipe out the squirrels of PCV.

He doesn't think I have the right to feed them even on the city sidewalk, because "they bring those nuts back and bury them on the property." Well we can't have that. Why not? Because that's the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law.

The Old Feeding Grounds

This is our home, where we played and slept and ate and raised our babies. It's where we used to get fed.

Missing Squirrels

Sometimes when I go out there, I don't see a single squirrel. The bottom line is, there are a lot of missing squirrels. That's what many of them wanted, apparently. And they won.
 I think the ultimate objective is to exterminate the squirrels at Peter Cooper Village in a humane way . What does the word humane even mean? It has roots in the word "human". We have the Humane Society. The connotation of that name is that we treat animals with compassion. Anyone on Facebook has seen horrific examples of the opposite. Just recently I posted a  picture of dolphins huddling in fear before being slaughtered by a Japanese hunting crew. Mankind in general, has not been kind to animals, except for a select few that were domesticated as pets that mirror our narcissistic view of ourselves.

My Squirrels

My squirrels are doing okay. They each have completely different personalities. Lady Gray acts like a cat. She is shy and standoffish. She never shows emotion but I know she must love me. Lady Black is all over me, like a dog. If I throw peanuts she runs to retrieve them (although she never brings them back!) She jumps onto my cart and loves taking a ride while ferreting for peanuts. One night when I was there waiting for someone, Lady Black stayed nearby, even in the dark.

Lady Black

I call her Lady for short.  While other squirrels come to eat, Lady comes to play. I receive a lot of harassment, but will I ever give up on feeding squirrels? As long as she's out there, so am I.
The Irrepressible Lady Black


In the years that I've known her, Lady Black has produced several generations of healthy, beautiful black babies.

Lady Gray

Her nickname is Waddles, but she doesn't waddle much these days, having become much sleeker on her new diet. She produces those lovely orange babies so maybe I should call her Lady Orange. Her coat is a mix of orange and gray. Basically she's a common gray squirrel, but an uncommonly beautiful one.
The Lovely Lady Gray

I'm always worrying about her when I don't see her for long periods of time, but she always shows up eventually. I've often thought someone else could be feeding her. But recently she hasn't bee  been looking so good, so maybe they stopped. I was told by a squirrel-loving couple who live there that they've been threatened by Management with fines if they feed the squirrels, so many residents have no doubt been scared off.

Showing off her new tail

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Squirrel Food

Autumn is a wonderful time for squirrels: the days get cooler and they're neither sweltering or freezing. And there's plenty of food from Nature's larder (which means some of us get a vacation). Thanks be to the squirrel gods!
Ratatoskr, emissary to the gods

An acorn and a sweet gum ball
Nibbling on a honey locust pod
Munching on acorns

Polishing off a sweet gum ball

There's a big acorn harvest this year.

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. Birds, squirrels, raccoons and rabbits like to eat fruit and seed of hawthorn.
Lots and lots of berries

A feast

Enjoying the harvest
while it lasts.

Optimal eating position  

Great for the 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