The Blue Jays — quiet and secretive in their summer nests — have come out of their woodsy hideaways, creating a real ruckus in the trees, as if to say, “Where’s my seed?” It’s much too early to start feeding them; I still have flower baskets where I normally hang our cold weather bird feeder. But it’s another sure indicator that Autumn is settling in. This handsome fellow is perched in some dead wood on a huge elderberry bush. (Photo was taken through glass, so it’s not as crisp as it might have been.)
This little fellow truly is a rascal — a red squirrel, he’s already taken up residence in a huge cedar tree on my parents’ property and helps himself to the black sunflower seeds. And he will shortly bring some friends to the party, I’m sure. My Dad has given up trying to discourage the little beggars and they’ve developed a strained truce.
Squirrels are important to the forest ecosystem as seed dispersers, and also as a food source for many mammals and birds, particularly birds of prey. Visiting feeders is normal behavior for squirrels, as they have found an attractive and inexpensive restaurant.
I actually enjoy watching squirrels. But don’t tell my Dad I said that. ;)