Rascals Return

Blue jayThe 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.)

Red squirrelThis 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.  ;)

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

17 thoughts on “Rascals Return”

  1. The pictuer on your header is astoundingly beautiful!

    Why, thank you! It was a photo of leaf ground cover that I took into PhotoShop and altered with some paint daubs. :)

    Blue Jays crack me up. Bossy little buggers and so talkative they give hummingbirds a run for their money in my book! Smart too. Lord!

    They certainly are crafty beggars, but so much fun to have in the garden. :)

    Thank You.

    May All Beings Be Happy.

    And to you.

  2. Rascals is the perfect name for jay and squirrel! They are both valuable to the garden….but can sure be pesky. The noisy jay is the best early defense warning system I’ve seen around here when cats come calling or when the hawks are over head! Have a good weekend. gail

    The jays that land on the balcony can scare the cat, even when he’s inside! You’re right…you can hear them from a distance, for sure. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, too.

  3. You hit the nail on the head…rascals they are. I love them…won’t tell your Dad.

    Well, thank you Balisha! (It’s wonderful to have your comments again…I hope you are continuing to do well.)

  4. That is funny! I saw the blue jays today for the fist time in a long time. The feeders were empty and they were letting me know it!

    Perhaps they have the same timetable. :) Yes, they’ve been landing on the balcony railing and letting their presence be known…they can scare the cat out of a deep sleep with one squawk!

  5. I love blue jays, and am eagerly waiting for mine to come back for the cold months. I prefer to think of them as “characters”! There are red squirrels just ten or so miles form here, but all ours are the fat gray squirrels. But in Pittsburgh (quite far from here but still in PA), they have the amazing black squirrels, and our friend Rudy about half an hour from here has flying squirrels! Amazing that the territories could be so distinct.

    We have flying squirrels here in Nova Scotia, too, but you don’t see them as often. :) The jays certainly are “characters” and I’ve been amazed at their varied calls and guttural noises they make that, perhaps, I hadn’t listened to as closely before.

  6. I love the blue jays! They actually stay around here all summer because we feed them, and it’s an absolute hoot to watch them when they moult and fledge. They look like punk rockers. Or punk Rawkers, because as you say, they’re quite raucous. That flash of blue in the back yard, in trees and in the sky overhead, never fails to bring me cheer.

    Me, too, jodi! My folks don’t care for them much because they tend to empty the feeders so quickly and “bully” the smaller birds, but I think they’re absolutely beautiful. :)

  7. Hi Nancy, lol – I won’t breathe a word about your affinity for watching squirrels! ;-) Yes, they’re both inquisitive, busy and busybodies! However, I like them, too. Thanks for the fun post.

    Thanks for not saying anything about my affection for the squirrels, Shady. Hee!

  8. We have bluejays all summer too. They are such big birds and take up one whole side of my feeder when they stop by. The other birds sit in the tree close by and fuss at them.

    My parents have several large feeders that the jays can feast from, but the one I hang each winter, the perches are too small for them. So they have to be content to clean up the dropped seeds. :)

  9. I quite enjoy the squirrels too :)

    The bluejays have just started rushing around the neighbourhood. So nice to see that streak of blue!

    They are a startling blue, aren’t they? I think they’re among Nova Scotia’s most beautiful birds. :)

  10. They might be rascals, but we love watching them in the garden. The bluejays are the first to squawk that the peanuts are out. We love the antics of the squirrels too.

    They certainly make a long winter seem shorter, don’t they? :)

  11. I have two squirrel proof feeders. Ha, ha! There is no such thing, for they can grasp the top of the glass inside the feeder hanging upside down and take seed by not having any weight on the perch. But, they actually rarely bother it.

    Donna, my Dad — a real animal lover — has tried every gadget known to man and beast, without success. He’s even caught them in live traps and driven them 20kms away from the house and released them, only to come home and find another one has taken its place. :) He used to say that for every one he trapped and took to a new home, two more crawled up in the wheel wells and followed him home! I did see a new feeder, similar to what you’re talking about that prevents them from feeding by weight — that might be part of a Christmas gift. :)

  12. After I wondered out loud about whether the squirrels would eat less bird food if we fed them, my husband went out and bought a corn cob holder, and has been feeding the squirrels all summer as well. They have dug fewer plants out of my pots this year, so maybe that helped. They still took 98% of the sunflower heads right off the plants, though.

    Now that’s something to think about, too!

    I love your photos. I’d still rather have blue jays than squirrels. I see them on occasion, but not as often as I used to. I wonder if it’s because of West Nile Virus.

    I’m glad you enjoy my photos, Sue. I’d rather have the jays than the squirrels, too. We recently had squirrels move into my aunt’s vacant house and oh my — did they wreak havoc in there! They can be very destructive little critters. I never thought about what diseases might cause a decline — I think sometimes it’s cyclical, too. Some years we have dozens of chickadees come to the feeder, for example, and other years, only a few. Perhaps that’s the same for the jays?

  13. Hi Nancy!
    What beautiful pictures here! My dad also doesn’t like squirrels and he does a bit more than “discourage” them.. :S, but he likes chipmunks, so we have lots of chipmunks and only a few squirrels around…. lol.
    I love Blue Jays, but the noise… oh the noise. I miss having a bird feeder living in the city apartment. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my space! And you’re right, it was a street off of Windsor…. either Seaforth or Summit Street… i think. :) Yay fellow Nova Scotian!

    Thanks for the visit! I hope you’ll stop by often. :) Thanks for your kind words about my photos, too.

  14. I love watching squirrels, too. I’ve made a truce with them. I feed them in their own box and in return they don’t bother the bird feeders as much and don’t dig in my garden as often. sometimes they forget our truce, but what can you do with little rascals like that.

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