Sunday, June 03, 2007

Red the Squirrel Scare-An Update from Stella

Photograph by Julia Bailey
Stella Hamilton, ardent Red Watcher sent in this update for those who haven't seen Red lately...
There was a bit of concern over the past few days among the Red Watchers because Red has not been seen in her usual digs. She was last seen in her fenced in area last Monday, Memorial Day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, she was a no show. Clare and I were concerned she might have moved elsewhere, or even worse,"moved on". We called out her name and we chattered, but there was no sign of Red. What happened ? She usually comes down to drink water from the plastic cups in the evening. She hasn't for 2 days.

I arrived at Locust Grove around 5pm yesterday, Thursday, to look for her .I had a good feeling I was going to see her. And sure enough there she was having a peanut on the foot of one of her trees. I was elated ! Then she had a walnut from Clare. And finally she drank her water, and headed on up to settle in for night on a Locust tree 50 feet North of her fenced in area. Today , she made us wait for only 1 hour , and that's fine as long as she comes by and says hello. We saw her creeping and bounding from the West in a hurry and was headed for that Locust tree . We offered her all sorts of treats. She had her usual 2 bites then headed towards the water supply. She drank about half a jello pudding cup of water. To me, that's a lot of water for a little squirrel. Then, she climbed up a low branch above our heads , and looked at us again and again. It was so wonderful to see her sweet little face. Around 6:15, she climbed higher until she disappeared among the leaves. We thanked her for gracing us with her presence and we bade her good night.

Be safe Red.
I asked Stella if there was a chance that Red's change in behavior might have something to do with a change in maternal status. She wrote back...
Dear Donna,
I don't think Red has babies. Some days we've observed her rushing back from the North, South ,East and West of her yard. I think the grey squirrels have a lot to do with her change in behavior given that she was kicked out of her old apartment in late March. Sadly, we haven't even heard her chatter since then. Oh , we miss that chatter. I guess she feels like she's no longer the Alpha female of Locust Grove. One day, I hope she gets her voice back and "chatter up" . She lets them know who's Queen of Locust Grove.
Ah well, we're still waiting for a male Red Squirrel and a male Turkey for the hen in Morningside Park. Why is it the females are willing to adventure into the city but the males aren't. That is except the original urban Hawk, Pale Male, who arrived before the females.
Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

Red was kicked out of her apartment? Did grey squirrels take it over? I thought she was tougher than those guys?

Donegal Browne said...

Red is extremely tough and had held out against humans stealing her nuts, Grey Squirrels and being hunted by Red-tails but finally in March she was ousted from her apartment by a Grey Squirrel. I've always thought perhaps the Grey was a pregnant female in great need of a cavity in which to have her young. This would have made her particularly aggressive. Though I bet if Red had been pregnant too with all those extra hormones, the Grey wouldn't have been able to move her.