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It's Not a Bird

All the birds were gone, but there was something in the trees making a racket. I finally found it and took a picture before it scampered across the tree tops and out of my yard. Later she returned, much bolder, and ready for an afternoon snack. I don't have a squirrel guy, but Walter the BirdNerd is laying his money on Rock Squirrel What do you think? The distance from the tip of her tail to the railing is about 17cm. Maybe it's a Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) they hang out in trees. Here's a picture of a Red Squirrel, and another here




not red enough

Allowing for issues of colour temperature in digital pictures (there is a green cast in these), I'd be entirely willing to believe that Tufty there is red. We have only red squirrels here in NS, and she looks just right for one to me. Here's one of the locals in a 'sqirrel proof' bird feeder:

Ground squirrels are the worst pest we have on the farm. They steal vast quantities of chicken feed, and their burrows create tripping hazards for cow and farmer alike. Baiting the squirrel traps is part of my daily routine from early spring to fall.

Did I ever tell you this tale?

A Sordid Tale

Somewhere in our voluminous reading of "Living in the Country" lore, we were advised to kill trapped ground squirrels by putting them to sleep with car exhaust. The recommendation said the older the car, the faster and hence more humane this approach. Humane is good, we took the advice.

And so, my first trap sprung with a ground squirrel. Having been raised on a "You catch 'em you clean 'em" rule of life, I did not (though tempted) whine "Honey...." Instead I put the cage (with the squirrel) in a garbage bag which I then tied with baling wire to the exhaust pipe of the old '84 Porsche. Then, when a peek confirmed the squirrel was dead, I pulled the cage out and set it beside the barn. I was totally grossed out and downcast with guilt. I thought to dispose of the caracass later.

Some hours past when I heard a rattling noise. Upon investigation I found a maniacal squirrel scratching at the cage - returned from the grave to taunt me. OK. It's not over yet. Sigh. I hooked th bag, cage and squirrel to the exhaust pipe again and restarted the engine.

I stared at the car while waiting for the squirrel to cook. Oh the unfair indignities of old age. It's so sad. Here she sits by the barn, farting at a squirrel in a garbage bag. My once proud steed! Aristocrat of the Audobaun. Tiger of the Turnpike. Porsche. How far the mighty have fallen.

I eventually retrieved the squirrel and started to throw it over the ravine for the raven. Just as I was about to release my swing, tail separated from body, the still warm carcass dropping directly on my unshod foot. A final sweet revenge of the squirrel. I nearly lost my lunch.

Neighbor Charlie stopped by. When told the tale, he never cracked a smile, but said (while staring pointedly at the pond), that his dog just drowns them in the water ditch. Duh.

I shot the Porsche.

What a horrible way to kill an animal, if you're going to do something like that at least be quick about it! Horrifying...

drowning is generally the most efficient in these cases.

I have heard the story before, and it's even more gruesome in the retelling. If the squirrels get out of hand it's nice to know I have an "expert" available.

Damn, the squirrel came back and one of those stupid Mourning Doves thought he'd share the feeder. The squirrel went for him and managed a mouth full of feathers before the dove escaped.


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