Archive for the ‘Squirrel’ Category

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Lately my Nature Friday posts have been all about the birds and this weeks is no exception. Don’t worry, Millie and Walter are doing well and will be back soon.

Charlie has been working hard in his wood shop this winter to get some new feeders ready for the return of our feathered friends this spring. The first thing he did was work on a new suet feeder.

Tufted Titmouse clings to the side of the old suet feeder

The previous suet feeder, seen above, was just a suet cage attached to a piece of wood and hung from a crook. The feeder was getting old and cracked and needed an upgrade. One thing we wanted to do was cut down on some of the “bully” birds that were able to access this feeder. The new suet feeder now has four sides so only birds that can cling to the bottom such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, tufted titmice and chickadees can use it. Other birds like starlings and grackles aren’t able to hang upside down and won’t be able to use it.

Upside down suet feeder

Since the crook was still in the ground we were able to hang this feeder right away. At first the birds seemed a bit hesitant to use it even though it’s in the same place as the previous one was but after a few days the realized that it contained the same suet they all love. The good thing is that the birds that can’t hang upside down, like cardinals and sparrows,  still get to benefit by hanging out under the feeder to pick up whatever is dropped.

A trio of new feeders – (left to right)
Platform Mealworm Feeder, Double Suet Feeder, Gilbertson Style Mealworm Feeder

Charlie also made a double sized suet feeder. You can see it in the middle above.

Underneath the double suet feeder

This feeder holds two suet cakes at a time and also has sides to prevent the non-clinging birds from being able to use it. The hope is that we will finally be able to attract a Pileated Woodpecker to our feeder. We have seen pileated woodpeckers around our yard but they are too big to use the smaller feeder.

Chickadee on Mealworm Feeder

The other two feeders that Charlie made are mealworm feeders. Our old platform mealworm feeder (above) was about 10 years old and needed to be replaced. The main difference with the new feeder is that now it will be attached to a 1¼” conduit with a strap instead of the wooden bracket you see on the old feeder.

Bottom of Platform Mealworm Feeder

The holes you see are for drainage and don’t really allow the mealworms to fall out. That happens well enough when a blue jay lands in it an starts flinging the mealworms around.

The other mealworm feeder Charlie made is a Gilbertson Style Mealworm Feeder.

Gilbertson Style Mealworm Feeder

Charlie’s version doesn’t follow the plan exactly. His is slightly larger with smaller posts in the corners to allow more room in the interior areas and he uses the same mounting method as the platform feeder above. As you can see this feeder has a cup inside where the mealworms will be placed. It also has metal rods running between the posts on all four sides. This prevents larger birds like starlings, mockingbirds, robins and blue jays from entering while allowing the smaller bluebirds, wrens, chickadees and tufted titmouse access.

How to access feed cup

In order to access the cup for refilling you are able to remove one of the metal rods. On the right, in the first picture of this feeder, you can see that one of the metal rods is bent with a small stop block keeping it in place. When it’s time to refill the feeder you just unlatch the rod and slide it out so you can reach in to remove the cup, which in this case is just a ½ cup measure with the handle cut off.

Once the ground thaws out (in a couple of months) we will be able to put up a new crook for the double suet feeder and put the conduit in the ground and mount our new mealworm feeders to them. The mealworm feeders will also be fitted with squirrel baffles to keep those pesky chipmunks and squirrels from pigging out on mealworms. In case you were wondering we feed dried mealworms which I buy in bulk from Critter Boutique. That is not an affiliate link. I am providing it since I think they have the best price for bulk dried mealworms in case you want to try using them. The suet feeders don’t need squirrel baffles since I only feed C & S Hot Pepper Delight Suet cakes. The birds don’t mind the hot pepper but the squirrels and chipmunks sure don’t like it and never try it twice.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.


Read Full Post »

Hi everyone! It’s Millie & Walter here. We’ve been enjoying our snowy backyard and being able to get out and play in it. Between playing and zoomies we like to pose for pictures or are we watching out for squirrels?

First I check to my right.

Then I check to my left.

You always have to keep your eyes out for those squirrels. They have lots of nuts stashed all over our yard.

I thought I saw a squirrel over there Millie.
No, I’m sure he went this way Walter.

Either way he went if he is out here we will get him.
(fun fact: if you make the picture bigger you can see Walter in my eye on your left and the photographer in my eye on the right)

We hope you enjoyed seeing us watching out for those pesky squirrels in our yard.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone. It’s Millie & Walter here. We had a break in our hot summer weather for a couple days this week. It’s always nice to be able to spend time outside as a family. Mom was taking pictures of all the bird activity with her big lens and dad was taking pictures of the flowers around the yard. We were just hanging out and sniffing around the yard to check to see if any rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks were around. After all that exploration there was time to lay down and enjoy the weather.

I always love hanging out under the katsura tree.

Dad thinks this is the best picture he has ever taken of me. I’m keeping my eyes on the bird feeder in the perennial garden.

I’m looking forward but my ears are listening behind me.

We had a great time hanging out while mom and dad went on a photo safari in our backyard. When you have as much property as we have there are lots of things you can find to photograph. Today’s pictures were from dad and you will see some of mom’s pictures on Wild Bird Wednesday.

We’re joining The Cat on My Head for their Selfie Sunday blog hop.

You should check out the hop to see some of the other selfies.

Read Full Post »

Disclaimer: We, Millie & Walter, do not condone the use of the following pictures or video on our blog. Proceed at your own risk…you’ve been warned!

Hi everyone, it’s Cindy here! Don’t listen to Millie and Walter. They don’t know what really is cute and what is not. Be prepared for some ultra cute pictures and video.

We have a very large willow tree in our front yard. Over the years many woodpeckers have hammered holes in this tree. Until recently we have never actually seen anything using these holes for homes. On a very rainy morning Charlie saw a mother squirrel bring her babies to a large hole in this willow tree.

Willow with squirrel nest - with words

She made a total of four trips to bring the whole family to the new nest. Since she was moving them during a rain storm we figured the reason was because they were getting soaked where they were.

The following day the sun came out and so did the babies.

Do you think it's safe to go out?

Do you think it’s safe to go out?
I thought mom said to stay in here.

It's okay if we stay close to the nest.

It’s okay if we stay close to the nest.

These adorable babies spent much of the day running up and down the willow tree. Here is a short video of some of the action.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

Yesterday this group of hooligans was scurrying around the backyard while Millie and Walter were inside. The pups sure had fun were frustrated watching all this action through the windows.

We actually aren’t sure if these are grey squirrels or red squirrels. We thought the mom that was carrying the babies was a grey squirrel (we were viewing during a rain storm from a long distance) but when looking at the babies they seem to have more reddish fur than expected. We do have both species living on our property so it could be either one. No matter what they are they sure are cute and fun to watch.

Read Full Post »

Or What Not to do By Millie!

Hi everyone it’s Millie & Walter here. First we want to thank Sarge and Bites for organizing this wonderful safety week. To view all the blogs participating, go to the hop at Oz’s site.

Logo ZoomieSafety

Today it’s our turn to do a post for Safety Week! If you are a follower of our blog you may remember a few videos we showed of our high speed antics around our yard (if you need a refresher you can go here, here and here). We don’t discriminate based on the weather either. We have learned a few things about our high speed antics and thought we would let our Mini Me’s demonstrate what we have learned.

When chasing your brother don't try to run through the shrubs.

When chasing your brother don’t try to run through the shrubs.

Running into shrubs can be hazardous to your health.

Running into shrubs can be hazardous to your health.

It is best to go around the shrubbery wherever you are running. Otherwise you might end up with a stick up your nose.

As you can see, when Walter zigged Millie didn’t zag and instead ran right into one of the shrubs. This ended in an emergency trip to the vet but she recovered quickly.

The next scenario involves a tree and the same concept.

Pay attention to the obstacles in your way.

Pay attention to the obstacles in your way.

Don't run into a tree at high speed.

Don’t run into a tree at high speed.

On the 4th of July we were zooming around the yard when Millie ran full speed into a tree and hit her knee. There was a small open wound but it wasn’t bleeding. We cleaned out the wound and kept our eye on how Millie was feeling.  Since it happened on a holiday we figured she could wait until the next day to see a vet. She was a little stiff and sore the next day. The vet shaved the area around the wound and flushed it out with saline and determined that it didn’t need any stitches.

Another embarrassing injury

Another embarrassing injury

Here is a close up of the wound so if you are a bit squeamish scroll past real fast.

Nasty ouchie on the knee

Nasty ouchie on the knee

Don’t worry, in just a couple of weeks the wound was completely closed. In just a couple more weeks the hair has already completely grown back and you would never know anything had happened.

So the moral of the story is if you are going to run high speed anywhere Watch Where You Are Going!!!

Mini Millie in bubble wrap with Mini Walter - With thought bubbles

Now all I need is a helmet to be safe

We hope you enjoyed this lesson in how not to get hurt while zooming around your yard or dog park. Don’t forget to visit the other safety lessons today so go to Oz’s site to find them.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone it’s Walter here.

I've Been Framed!

I’ve Been Framed!

I swear I didn’t do it! My pawrents have no evidence that I made this mess.

Go ahead and hide over there Millie. That doesn't mean you are innocent.

Go ahead and hide over there Millie. That doesn’t mean you are innocent.

Now mom was up in her sewing room and dad was in the basement playing with power tools. When dad took a break he found this mess in the living room. Upon closer inspection it was determined that somedoggy stole a used toilet paper roll from a trash can and tore it to shreds.

I think it was a squirrel...yeah that's the ticket...a squirrel!

I think it was a squirrel…yeah that’s the ticket…a squirrel!

Please send bail money quick!


Read Full Post »

red squirrel with nut

Read Full Post »

A couple of Saturdays ago my husband, Charlie, and I were treated to a couple of hours of entertainment by the critters that call our property home (or were just passing through that day). It started when we noticed that there were about 50 American Robins hunting for worms and bugs all around our property and enjoying some of the freshly ripe blueberries. Many of the robins were youngsters and in addition to looking for food spent some of the time harassing each other.

Here is some video I took of the robins in the yard. First a juvenile robin looks for bugs and takes a bath in the wet grass (filmed from in the house). He tries to find some peace, but is regularly harassed by other members of the flock. The second part shows a robin that has staked his claim to the bird bath, but waits for just the right moment to take advantage of it.

Our blueberry bushes were full of ripe berries and many of the birds were taking advantage of this.  We could harvest the berries (and make a few pies or some jam), but the purpose for having them in the yard is to attract the birds to the yard.  We also noticed some other backyard residents enjoying the bountiful feast as well. Below are a couple of videos demonstrating the entertaining and acrobatic moves of the chipmunk and squirrel as they climb the bushes to find the ripe fruit. 

Some of you might consider chipmunks to be no more than a pest in the garden, but I can’t help but smile every time I see one hopping around the yard.  The video with the chipmunk also has me apologizing to a Black-capped Chickadee that buzzed me and seemed to not like where I was standing.  A Baltimore Oriole also stops by to share the blueberries with the chipmunk.

Another visitor to the yard that day was a juvenile (or possibly female) Baltimore Oriole. In the following video she spends some time probing a daylily blossom for nectar (also filmed from inside the house), hangs out in a witch hazel shrub and finishes with a feast of blueberries.

The last bit of entertainment for the morning involved a variety of visitors. A White Breasted Nuthatch lands on a hook holding a hanging basket of petunias. I think he was wondering where the suet feeder, that was in the same spot all winter, was . A bluejay stops by and tries to figure out how to get seed from the niger feeder that the American Goldfinches use. A squirrel and a pair of chipmunks disrupt a juvenile Northern Flicker digging in the mulch. And lastly an American Tree Sparrow stops by for a close encounter.

Just when I gathered my equipment and went inside, Nina let us know of a few more visitors to the yard.  I didn’t get any video of them, but our twin fawns and their mom (see their videos here and here) wandered across the front yard.  It was so great to see that they are still safe. 

I could have spent hours observing and recording the action, but knew I needed to get on with the day.  Charlie was very understanding and let me indulge myself for quite a while. I love mornings like this and wish there were an endless supply. Maybe when I am old enough to retire….

Read Full Post »