Saturday, November 16, 2013

Photo Show with Oscar's Baby Photo

There is a photo show of 4 x 6 prints on November 26  in Ottawa at Falldown Gallery on Bank Street and among the ten I submitted, I chose this one of Baby Squirrel Oscar since it epitomizes everything that was weird and wonderful about nurturing an infant squirrel. He was smaller than my thumb at this point and his blind helplessness so apparent in this photo.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Party's Over!

Just becoming too comfortable. And now, the adults are bringing their young. Too much trouble! They eat all the cat kibble and leave a mess. Until they hibernate, at which point I will re-open the cat door, it's time to call an end to the party!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Britain's Badger Problem

I hear that the UK is having trouble with, is it badgers? Yes, it is and they look like this.

Britain's largest surviving carnivore.

Here is a link to read about the problem.

Apparently, this is a long-standing situation and, predominantly, it seems that farmers and rural folk are having the most difficulty.

Celebrities have become involved. Lead guitarist for the rock band, Queen, Brian May, is championing badger rights and with some success. He has written at least one column for The Guardian and is leading the fray to save the badger.

For a balanced read on the subject, Hugh Warwick in his review in The Guardian of Patrick Barkham's recently released book, Baderlands, is a good place to start.

We don't have badgers in this region of Canada, except for the small ferret-type that are often kept as pets. However, we too have problems with wildlife, some of which I have been outlining over the last several weeks.

So when I read about the situation with badgers in England, and there was a call for input from the public, I sent a brief story about problems with urban raccoons. And I included the photo of the raccoon in my bathtub taken during the summer. You may recall this photo.

There is a similarity, except the stripes go in opposite directions.

I just thought that Britain's got badgers killing hedgehogs and, ostensibly, playing a role in the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

We have raccoons within city limits with no natural predators, breeding willy-nilly, with the threat of spreading noxious diseases through their feces to people and to domestic animals.

We  have no cull, no vaccination plan, no discussion of how to deal with the problem.
In short, we have nothing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wild Turkeys, The Video

Making their video debut, the wild turkeys of Almonte, Ontario, Canada. There are five males, gobblers, they are called. The flock will grow to include up to 15 females and three of the males will leave in search of their own harem, or being young, they may hover on the perimeter of the flock and wait for their opportunity to hive a few hens away for their own in a year or two.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Raccoon Having a Late Supper

I suspect that this raccoon was hand-raised as a kit and then released to this neighbourhood. He is too comfortable with the cats and house. Sometimes, he comes in and does not even eat; he just wants to be in the house. Last night, at around 5:00 am, I think he snuck in and enjoyed roaming around. He may have wandered into my bedroom and, discovering my hand over the side of the bed, started nipping on my fingers. I woke to sharp teeth nipping my finger tips. It could have been my cat but he's never done something such as this before and when I woke with a start, something hightailed it out of the bedroom and made for the cat door. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Not a Squirrel!

Hello and thank-you for your continued attention to this blog. Squirrels continue to play a huge role in my life, especially now since several of the cunning rodents have discovered the cat door with a swinging hard plastic entrance and they are coming into the house and helping themselves to my larder!

When I arrived home today at noon, something whipped past me as I was putting my key in the door. It was not a cat; I would recognize my cats, of which I have three. And it was not a raccoon. Coons are a huge problem but they stick to the evening hours and are rarely seen during the day.

I shall monitor the situation but if it persists, my cats will have to knock to be let in and let out.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A-hunting I Will Go for Raccoons

Cute coons in the bath tub aside, a couple nights ago, I was wakened four times by as many raccoons, one young one in my bedroom who was as surprised to see me as I was to see it. It let out an EEK and headed for the living room and right out the cat door.

There is an adult who comes in and this coon is not destructive. It appears to be a male, large, matted and with a wild, musky smell. However, he does not tear things apart. He simply eats the cat kibble and then sleeps on the window ledge until mid-morn and then heads to his real home. It's the young ones that can destroy an apartment within an hour.

And so I have invested in a Havahart live animal trap and will be catching and releasing...soon. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Wild Life Day Today

What to do with urban coons who think that they are domesticated?  This beast comes in every night through the cat door. If you have outdoor cats, you know that there's no keeping them in and conversely, there's no keeping out the coons.
This painted turtle turned up miles from water in a rural back yard. He eventually escaped his confines and headed under the sun deck.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Rodents

A chipmunk fills the pouches on either side of his head.

The red squirrel is a feisty new-comer to the crowd.

The red squirrel finding seeds in the grass and then burying them.

A black squirrel has discovered the banquet of seeds.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What the Spring Brings

Here, the black squirrel defeats the squirrel-inhibitor
meant to keep her from the bird feeders. 
A pair of Canada Geese feeding on young grass shoots. 
Spring in Ottawa brings many delightful sightings of Canada Geese, small rodents and a variety of birds drawn to feeders.

No wild turkeys today. Well, only one and she ran for the hills when I opened the door.

Here is the black squirrel again, this time, approaching the feeder
from the opposite side. She is persistent.

Canada Geese on the Ottawa River.
A Downy Woodpecker helps himself to some suet.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Squirrels and Wild Turkeys

A chipmunk filling the pouches on both sides of her face.

One of the many red squirrels.

Wild turkeys on the run when they hear sunflower seeds 
being thrown for them. They've got to be the most 
ungainly bird!

It is mating season and the gobblers put on a show for the hens. There are usually two males, closely related but one is older while the other, called a jake, he's similar to a male escort. It seems that the males are 
more impressed with themselves than the hens. 

The theory behind the team-courtship is that the less dominant male would have a greater chance of passing along shared genetic material than if it were courting alone.

A young female is 
called a jenny, like a donkey? can this be so? and baby wild turkeys are poults. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Of Rodents and Winged Friends

Spring is hinting at returning and so are the famished rodents and scavenging birds.

The red squirrel was certainly chowing-down today and, unlike the chipmunks who also come for the sunflower seeds, this hungry beast does not stuff side pouches but instead, eats as much as he can at one sitting.

The wild turkeys share the red squirrels' love of sunflower seeds. Unsalted, please!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Taking a Sun Bath

Outside my window today, a honey bear squirrel, one with a tawny belly and a black exterior.

Since Baby Squirrel Oscar had these markings, I can only surmise that this might be a relative: same neighbourhood, same trees, same colouration.

Despite frigid temps, with the sun out, the squirrels also come out. They sit huddled in the crooks of branches with their tails arching over their bodies and they bask in the warming rays.