Friday, February 4, 2011

What Shall It Be? Seeds Or Nuts, Seeds Or Nuts

We keep the bird feeders filled during the cold months and the squirrels scavenge for fallen seed. The feeders are conveniently close to the trees where the squirrels spend the night. Easy pickings. The downside is that one of our cats likes to ‘sit and watch the birds,’ otherwise known as ‘let’s see if we can catch a snack.’ He’s not very successful but his presence deters the squirrels from coming to the feeders.

The alternative for the squirrels is to go down into the woods by the creek. Regular as clockwork they make their way down along the branches in the tree tops in the morning. Again in the evening you can watch a procession as they return to the woods by the house to spend the night.

I’m not really sure exactly where they go down in the woods. I’ve never seen them foraging in the creek bottom when I’m down there. Recently, however, I did see evidence of their foraging.

Hickory shells and a couple of clusters of six or seven acorn caps are all that remain of a squirrel’s feast on this tree stump. Quite a haul.

A closer view. The hickory nuts come from a Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) a few feet from the stump. I’m not sure where the acorns came from.

This is the first time I’ve seen the remains of a squirrel’s feast on a stump in our woods. I did see the remains of a pine cone feast at Fort Yargo State Park last year. This seems like a slightly higher-class feast than the pine cone feast. As with the pine cone feast, the diner was messy and didn’t bother to bus it’s table.

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Related posts:

- Hmmm... Should I Or Shouldn't I?

- Dinner For One


Beyond My Garden said...

That's a nice variety for your squirrel. As far as where the acorns come from, One morning I saw and then tracked a squirrel to our bird feeder from at least a quarter mile away. I don't know where it started, but it was at least that far.

JSK said...

Yes, these squirrels have it relatively easy. There are a lot of oaks around - particularly near the house. I suspect there are a lot in the woods; just not as easy to identify in the winter. I was impressed by how many acorns were on each twig. Last year was a good year for the trees judging by the thickness of the leaf litter on the trail.