M-L mentioned yesterday that she was going to give the squirrels some nuts in the shell to see if they can navigate their way through. Here's her report:
The in shell almonds were a hit. Missy got them first and liked them so much, she went up her tree and across the tree highway to another yard to eat it. Oscar and Jackie just sat on the roof of the nesting box to eat their nuts. Blasted blue jays still take the unshelled nuts, but at least they cannot quickly gulp the almonds as they did the shelled nuts.
I had a visit with Oscar and Missy this afternoon as I filled the various bowls, trays and bird feeders with seeds. For the first time they just ambled around the deck as I topped up the food, while the resident squirrels raced to hide in the cedar hedge to watch me. I offered Oscar a shelled almond. He came over from the dish of sunflower seeds, rested his front paws on my hand and gently took it from my fingers. Sweet Oscar!
Missy was offered a cashew (her favourite). She turned from the sunflower seeds and promptly bit my finger. On reflex, I lifted my hand up and had a squirrel hanging from my finger! I dropped the cashew, shook her off and was given an annoyed look as her cashew rolled off the deck. I shook a few out of the jar onto the deck and tapped the wood so she could see them. She went over, still giving me the "you stupid human, you lost my cashew" look, and took another. I didn't like the way she was looking at my bare toes, so I went back inside to put on shoes.
When I came out again, all three were munching on almonds they had shelled themselves. I pulled up a chair to watch them, with a jar of Oscar's shelled almonds for me to munch on, and to my surprise, Missy came over, climbed up my jeans and sat on my lap, eyeing the almonds in the jar. She helped herself to a nut and ran off to bury it in the leaf cover. This was repeated twice. The third time, she got a nut and just hopped onto my shoulder and ate part of the nut. Then she climbed down my back and tried to bury the remaining piece under my sweater!! Didn't I say she was a very confident assertive squirrel! But, Oscar should teach her some manners.