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Mom Squirrel taking new babies for a walk to check out the backyard

Mom Squirrel taking her babies for a walk. Photo by Michael Cohen, Walnut Creek, CA
1 sq family2 michael cohen wc

Gary:
A squirrel family has been gathering on our deck, sometimes huddling together, with one or two getting up on the mother’s back, and then scampering off together. Random squirrels have visited our deck for years, but never an entourage such as this. Can you explain?
Karen Cohen, Walnut Creek, California

Karen:
You just lucked out and got a chance to see Mom Squirrel taking the kids for their first outing from the nest to show them HER backyard. Pretty funny. /Gary

Mom Squirrel and her babies. Photo by Michael Cohen, Walnut Creek, CA
1sq family michael cohen, wc

Posted on Friday, May 4th, 2012
Under: fox squirrel | 6 Comments »

Does this squirrel think it’s a turkey? Or does the turkey think it’s a squirrel?

Backyard buddies. Photo by Patrick Barry, Pleasant Hill, CA
1squirrel turkey patrick barry ph

My old high school chum, Pat Barry, sent me the above photo taken in his backyard.

Is this a squirrel who thinks it’s a turkey … or a turkey who thinks it’s a squirrel?

You have to admit … backyards can be interesting places. That’s why I call them the “Urban Wilderness.”

There’s a lot of wild stuff going on out there! Thanks, Pat! /Gary

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Under: fox squirrel, wild turkeys | No Comments »

Freeloading crow joins squirrels for free peanuts

Freeloading crow joins squirrel to beg for peanuts. Photo by Ann & Bill, Concord, CA
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Gary:
We’ve been sharing peanuts with the squirrels and bluejays for quite a few years, but the last few days a lone crow has found our backyard and decided to get in on the snacks. He sits in our cherry tree for a few minutes and caws loudly at the squirrels, but they aren’t afraid, so he finally comes down for his share. I’m going to have to buy more peanuts.
Ann & Bill, Concord, California

Ann & Bill:
Good thing you don’t live in the tropics. Next would come the parrots … and then the macaws … and then the monkeys … BUY more peanuts? Heck, you’d have to start GROWING them! /Gary

“I got my peanut!” Photo by Ann & Bill, Concord, CA
1crow ann and bill concord

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Under: Crows, fox squirrel | 4 Comments »

Downward Facing Squirrel … raiding the bird feeder

Downward Facing Squirrel. Photo by Lynda Nunn, Walnut Creek, CA
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Gary:
This funny squirrel stretched as long as its body could go for birdseed!
Lynda Nunn, Walnut Creek, California

Lynda:
Classic squirrel Yoga … Downward Facing Squirrel. I can hear its vertebrae popping, even as we speak … ummmmm … bird seed. /Gary

Ah, that was good bird seed! Photo by Lynda Nunn, Walnut Creek, CA
1squirrel lynda nunn wc

Posted on Monday, March 26th, 2012
Under: Bird Feeders, fox squirrel | No Comments »

Fox squirrel freeloading on a Martinez bird feeder

Fox squirrel freeloading on a backyard feeder. Photo by Linda Lansberry, Martinez, CA
1squirrel linda lansberry mtz

Gary:
It has been some time since we sent you a new picture of our backyard moments! These two pictures are from Friday, Dec. 2.

This squirrel delighted all of us with his silly antics and feeding challenges! The feeders were all filled on Thursday and this one was truly empty by the end of Friday! This squirrel really kept his tail on!

Happy Holidays from Martinez!
The Lansberry’s, Martinez, California

Dear Lansberry family:
That’s definitely a “backyard moment.” Nothing can inhale the contents of a bird feeder like a hungry fox squirrel. Reminds me of the time a squirrel dropped in on one of my feeders. Our yard’s resident scrub jay immediately zoomed down and started pecking the squirrel on the head.  Merry Christmas, squirrel! /Gary

Fox squirrel freeloading on a backyard feeder. Photo by Linda Lansberry, Martinez, CA
1squirrel2 linda lansberry mtz

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2011
Under: Bird Feeders, fox squirrel | 2 Comments »

Fox squirrel: The ups and downs of nest building

Fox squirrel trying to take cloth for nest. Photo by Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, CA
1foxsquirrel mike gordon wc

Gary:
This squirrel keeps trying to steal this cloth for a nest! He gets as much in his mouth as he can but eventually looses his balance and falls! Too Funny!!
Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, California

Mike:
He reminds me of a squirrel in Lafayette, CA, a few years back. One 4th of July, a Lafayette resident hung a little flag from her mailbox. The day after the 4th, when she went out to take in her flag, it was gone. She figured one of the neighborhood kids must have taken it. A week or so later, during a big windstorm, a squirrel nest blew out of an oak tree in her backyard. When she went to clean it up, she found the whole inside of the squirrel nest … lined with her flag. That was one patriotic squirrel! /Gary

Squirrel losing balance and falling while trying to take cloth for nest. Photo by Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, CA
1foxsquirrel2 mike gordon wc

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel | No Comments »

Fox squirrel sampling fruit from ‘his’ nectarine tree

Fox squirrel feeding on nectarine. Photo by Mary Baltich, Concord, CA
1sq nectarine mary baltich concord

Gary:
I thought that you would like my photo of the friendly squirrel raiding my nectarine tree.
Mary Baltich, Concord, California

Mary:
I think you have that backwards. It’s the squirrel’s nectarine tree and he’s sampling his wares. Be nice and I’m sure he’ll be willing to share. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Under: fox squirrel | 1 Comment »

Baby fox squirrels discovered in rain gutter nest. CUTE!

Squirrel nest and babies in rain gutter. Photo by David Ogden, Walnut Creek, CA
1squirrel nest david ogden wc

Gary:
Don’t know if this is new to you or not, but my son Cooper discovered a nest of three baby squirrels in my rain gutter this morning after hearing an unexplained noise up there. (See above photo.) I slid the cover off to unveil three little “squirrellettes” asleep in a comfy nest of oak leaves — light green, obviously harvested recently to provide the softest bedding available.  Mom was not there, but was a few feet away in the rain gutter squawking at me.

It’s a cunning move on Mom’s part — this location is well protected, completely out of sight of any raptor, and difficult if not impossible for a raccoon (or cat) to access.  I thought they usually nested in trees, and we have six large, mature oaks on our property, but Mom rejected them in favor of this covered rain gutter. (The cover is the plastic panel type, with a slit to accommodate rain water from the roof.)  Smart move, Mrs. Squirrel.
David Ogden, Walnut Creek, California

David:
Fox squirrels usually build their nests in trees, but they also occasionally tear off a vent screen and make a nest in your attic. Less common is the rain gutter nest which your son discovered.

Remember to clean the remains of that nest out of the rain gutter, after the squirrel family is gone and before the rains start this fall. Otherwise, you’re going to get a big wet surprise. /Gary

Posted on Friday, August 19th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel, Squirrels | 4 Comments »

Why is fox squirrel chewing hole in a metal electrical box?

Note tooth marks where a fox squirrel chewed a hole in this metal electrical box. Photo by Phil Grover, Concord, CA
1metalsquirrel phil grover concord

Gary:
Several times we’ve observed a small fox squirrel chewing on an outdoor metal electrical box.  It has actually made a hole in it.  Is the squirrel bored, short of iron in its diet, misled by its parents as to what it should eat, or suffering from its teeth growing too fast?
Phil Grover, Concord, CA

Phil:
Squirrels are funny. Their teeth have VERY hard enamel on the front side and are softer on the back. They also grow continually, as do the teeth of most rodents. When they chew on something hard, because of the softer backs, they wear at an angle. This keeps the teeth always sharp. Mother Nature is very clever.

Occasionally for some reason, squirrels will become obsessive with their gnawing, like the animal that’s gnawing on your metal box. Why? Who knows. Maybe it feels good, or the sound of gnawing on metal turns the little character on, or maybe the metal tastes good. Whatever the reason, you can probably put an end to it by spraying the metal box with dog or cat repellent (available at pet and most hardware stores). /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel | 1 Comment »

That’s one VERY frustrated wild turkey!

“Hey! How come that dumb squirrel gets all the peanuts?!” Photo by Jeanne Thomas, Walnut Creek, CA
1squirrel turkey jeanne thomas

Gary:
I raised the peanut feeder 12 inches because the wild turkeys were eating me out of house and home.  It didn’t deter the squirrels from climbing up to get some peanuts, but you can tell the turkey is visibly disturbed.
Jeanne Thomas, Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, California

Jeanne:
You can see it in the turkey’s eyes … “Hey! How come that dumb squirrel gets to eat the peanuts and I don’t?!” /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel, wild turkeys | 2 Comments »