Saturday, September 29, 2007

Big Ears, Doorstep, Friend, and a Clear Look at a Japanese Beetle

About a week ago, one of the local female squirrels appeared in the yard with four newly
off-the-nest youngsters.

Some days later I looked out and what should I see but the smallest young squirrel, the one who's ears hadn't quite caught up with her body, had her little squirrel lips around the nozzle of the hummingbird feeder. And "Big Ears" had been there for some time as there was quite a back up of ants waiting their turn. Usually the ants are in a busy line going to and from the feeder nozzle, not that day.

Big Ears notices us watching, unhooks herself, and stares. Flight or the comfort of sucking liquid sugar?

Uncertain, she lowers herself slightly but doesn't run. It's hard being weaned.

Suckling sugar wins and it's back to the nozzle she goes. The next time I look the feeder is dry. I fill it again. Today it was dry again and there she was, not at the hummingbird feeder this time but lying belly down on top of a bird feeder newly stocked with sunflower seeds. No self-respecting squirrel allows a stock of sunflower seeds to just sit there unless they are very very full or aren't really weaned at all to solid food. Silver and I kept an eye on her and in 45 minutes or so she leaned down and had a few. Good, she is getting the hang of eating something besides liquids. She'll be just fine, at least in the food area.

Finally, Doorstep Dove and Friend are seen together. At first I wasn't sure it was Doorstep because there looked to be too much blue around her eye. Then I realized she was molting. See all the pin feathers on her head? When they are fully opened the area around her eye will be more fully covered and she'll look more like herself.


Eleanor Tauber's photo of a Japanese Beetle complete with a clear look at its "bird foot" shaped antennae.
Donegal Browne

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