Author Topic: On Squirrels  (Read 1579 times)

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Offline Meg

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Re: On Squirrels
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2019, 05:07:47 AM »
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  • https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026

    The girl who gets gifts from birds
    .
    Lots of people love the birds in their garden, but it's rare for that affection to be reciprocated. One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return.
    .
    Eight-year-old Gabi Mann sets a bead storage container on the dining room table, and clicks the lid open. This is her most precious collection.
    .
    "You may take a few close looks," she says, "but don't touch." It's a warning she's most likely practised on her younger brother. She laughs after saying it though. She is happy for the audience.
    .
    Inside the box are rows of small objects in clear plastic bags. One label reads: "Black table by feeder. 2:30 p.m. 09 Nov 2014." Inside is a broken light bulb. Another bag contains small pieces of brown glass worn smooth by the sea. "Beer coloured glass," as Gabi describes it.
    .
    Each item is individually wrapped and categorised. Gabi pulls a black zip out of a labelled bag and holds it up. "We keep it in as good condition as we can," she says, before explaining this object is one of her favourites.
    .
    There's a miniature silver ball, a black button, a blue paper clip, a yellow bead, a faded black piece of foam, a blue Lego piece, and the list goes on. Many of them are scuffed and dirty. It is an odd assortment of objects for a little girl to treasure, but to Gabi these things are more valuable than gold.
    .
    She didn't gather this collection. Each item was a gift - given to her by crows.
    .
    She holds up a pearl coloured heart. It is her most-prized present. "It's showing me how much they love me."
    .
    Gabi's relationship with the neighbourhood crows began accidentally in 2011. She was four years old, and prone to dropping food. She'd get out of the car, and a chicken nugget would tumble off her lap. A crow would rush in to recover it. Soon, the crows were watching for her, hoping for another bite.
    .
    As she got older, she rewarded their attention, by sharing her packed lunch on the way to the bus stop. Her brother joined in. Soon, crows were lining up in the afternoon to greet Gabi's bus, hoping for another feeding session.
    .
    Gabi's mother Lisa didn't mind that crows consumed most of the school lunches she packed. "I like that they love the animals and are willing to share," she says, while admitting she never noticed crows until her daughter took an interest in them. "It was a kind of transformation. I never thought about birds."
    .
    In 2013, Gabi and Lisa started offering food as a daily ritual, rather than dropping scraps from time to time.
    .
    Each morning, they fill the backyard birdbath with fresh water and cover bird-feeder platforms with peanuts. Gabi throws handfuls of dog food into the grass. As they work, crows assemble on the telephone lines, calling loudly to them.
    .
    It was after they adopted this routine that the gifts started appearing.
    .
    The crows would clear the feeder of peanuts, and leave shiny trinkets on the empty tray; an earring, a hinge, a polished rock. There wasn't a pattern. Gifts showed up sporadically - anything shiny and small enough to fit in a crow's mouth.
    .
    One time it was a tiny piece of metal with the word "best" printed on it. "I don't know if they still have the part that says 'friend'," Gabi laughs, amused by the thought of a crow wearing a matching necklace.
    .
    When you see Gabi's collection, it's hard not to wish for gift-giving crows of your own.
    .
    "If you want to form a bond with a crow, be consistent in rewarding them," advises John Marzluff, professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington. He specialises in birds, particularly crows and ravens.
    .
    What food is best? "A few peanuts in the shell," he says. "It's a high-energy food… and it makes noise when you throw it on the ground, so they hear it and they quickly habituate to your routine."
    .
    Marzluff, and his colleague Mark Miller, did a study of crows and the people who feed them. They found that crows and people form a very personal relationship. "There's definitely a two-way communication going on there," Marzluff says. "They understand each other's signals."
    .
    The birds communicate by how they fly, how close they walk, and where they sit. The human learns their language and the crows learn their feeder's patterns and posture. They start to know and trust each other. Sometimes a crow leaves a gift.
    .
    But crow gifts are not guaranteed. "I can't say they always will (give presents)," Marzluff admits, having never received any gifts personally, "but I have seen an awful lot of things crows have brought people."
    .
    Not all crows deliver shiny objects either. Sometimes they give the kind of presents "they would give to their mate", says Marzluff. "Courtship feeding, for example. So some people, their presents are dead baby birds that the crow brings in."
    .
    Gabi has been given some icky objects. Her mother threw out a rotting crab claw, for example.
    .
    Gabi points out a heavily rusted screw she prefers not to touch. It's labelled "Third Favorite." Asking her why an untouchable object is in the favourites, she answers, "You don't' see a crow carrying around a screw that much. Unless it's trying to build its house."
    .
    Lisa, Gabi's mom, regularly photographs the crows and charts their behaviour and interactions. Her most amazing gift came just a few weeks ago, when she lost a lens cap in a nearby alley while photographing a bald eagle as it circled over the neighbourhood.
    .
    She didn't even have to look for it. It was sitting on the edge of the birdbath.
    .
    Had the crows returned it? Lisa logged on to her computer and pulled up their bird-cam. There was the crow she suspected. "You can see it bringing it into the yard. Walks it to the birdbath and actually spends time rinsing this lens cap."
    .
    "I'm sure that it was intentional," she smiles. "They watch us all the time. I'm sure they knew I dropped it. I'm sure they decided they wanted to return it."

    Wow - that's a great story! I'll share it with my husband.

    I also appreciate the responses from forlorn, Kazimierz, and Nadir.

    Offline Meg

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #16 on: August 09, 2019, 05:15:14 AM »
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  • This is an old thought I had that makes sense to me now:

    "Here is a strange thing I noticed about squirrels and the kinds of squirrels that live in different places. In most places that I have been to, the squirrels are the normal grey (or red) kind and they run around finding nuts and climbing trees like regular squirrels do. But then there is a different kind of squirrel that lives in the places where evil reigns. There is a neighborhood I know that is seeped in sin and in this neighborhood the squirrels are not grey (or red). It is as if the normal squirrels have been chased out by a horror of sin and have been replaced by ugly squirrels who are black and slothful and sit around on the ground and have much less energy than the normal squirrels as if they are sick and tired of the world. In places where grace abounds, there is another kind of squirrel I have noticed. These are wonderful squirrels and are snow-white in color and very beautiful. They are very fast and never stop moving. When they climb the trees and jump from branch to branch it is a marvel to look at them as it looks as if they are flying. The difference between these kinds of squirrels is like the difference between saints, and normal sinners, and the unrepentantly wicked. I wonder if God sends these different kinds of squirrels to be among different kinds of people as a reminder of the state of their souls. (My grandmother had these snow-white squirrels in her backyard. That is a hopeful sign)."

    After I first thought of it years ago I thought I was mad.

    The scenario you describe above might indeed be possible. It's an interesting idea to ponder. 



    Offline Nadir

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #17 on: August 09, 2019, 06:12:10 AM »
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  • Yes, Pax' story was a good one which I enjoyed. I liked that Seraphina named and fed Claudette. She also fed that young man on the thread about the homeless man.  I liked that story and I read it to my huband and he enjoyed it too.

    I ponder why so many people feel so un comfortable with or repulsed by spiders. Not that I would want one for a pet, but they are good around the house, especially if you live in the bush (wilderness) and there other more pestiferous creatures around.

    I love the golden orb web weavers and like to watch them at work. Many spiders are harmless, and not aggressive.


    Offline Matto

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 08:23:06 AM »
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  • Thank you, Nadir. I subscribed to that Youtube channel for more animal videos.
    I Love Watching Butterflies . . ..

    Offline Kazimierz

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #19 on: August 09, 2019, 08:45:38 AM »
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  • Our maggies attack people, that is when they have chicks in the nest. They'll swoop down on you so you need to ward them off. Our neighbour does that by feeding them. She says they will never attack you if you feed them.
    That is good to know. Nonetheless there are so many of them, they need to be culled.
    Now ravens definitely have a fay quality to them. Their vocalizations are the most interesting amongst the corvids, at least methinks they be. :)
    Then there was the time I was given a smooch by a beautiful young female........wolf.It was at a wildlife centre in British Columbia where you can walk with wolves out on trails. ;) :cowboy: The only good thing out of a generally miserable trip to the Rockies last year.
    This is a serious journey,not a Hobbit walking party.


    Offline cassini

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #20 on: August 09, 2019, 11:00:43 AM »
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  • Here in Ireland magpies, an invasive species from east asia, are multiplying at a frightening rate. They will kill young songbirds and steal their eggs. Songbirds are in decline because of magpies, while magpies increase. There is a poem:

    One for sorrow, two for joy, Three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, Seven for a secret never told.

    Today, one or two magpies are rarely seen. Recently, I counted thirty two magpies in the local park field. That poem could be stretched a bit today. Because of the damage they do to songbirds they now have cages in which they trap magpies. to attract them to the cages they use a magpie from another area. They know the difference and are caught attempting to attack these outsiders.

    My best magpie story is the time I was on a holiday to Lisbon in Portugal. One of our trips was to Fatima, very interesting, but the other to an old hunting castle used by the kings and princes of old. One large room had 27 magpies beautifully painted on the roof. The guide explained that this particular hunt was attended by 27 guests who were accommodated in the castle. One morning a beautiful girl was see leaving the Prince's bedroom and the gossip started and spread like wildfire. As it happened the girl was a servant and had just delivered breakfast to the Prince. When the prince heard what the gossip was all about he cleared them all out of his castle. He then hired a painter to draw 27 chattering magpies on the roof of the dining hall and placed all their names along the wall.


    Online 1st Mansion Tenant

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #21 on: August 09, 2019, 01:37:34 PM »
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  • You must be from Aussie land.  Thank goodness we don't have such large spiders here in "the states".  I hate spiders.
    Ditto. It gives me the heebiejeebies to imagine hearing a spider that was outdoors from inside!

    Offline Matto

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #22 on: August 09, 2019, 01:50:03 PM »
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  • One for sorrow, two for joy, Three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, Seven for a secret never told.
    Thank you Cassini. I put it in my book. I will try to learn it by heart.
    I Love Watching Butterflies . . ..


    Offline Syracuse

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #23 on: August 09, 2019, 01:56:37 PM »
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  • A long time ago I was deer hunting. I sat on a log in the forest, and a young squirrel came right up next to me within arms reach. He just looked at me and sat there for quite some time. He eventually calmly went away. Squirrels are neat.

    Offline cassini

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #24 on: August 10, 2019, 10:27:29 AM »
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  • Thank you Cassini. I put it in my book. I will try to learn it by heart.

    You get the full story here Matto:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_for_Sorrow_(nursery_rhyme)

    One for sorrow,
    Two for joy,
    Three for a girl,
    Four for a boy,
    Five for silver,
    Six for gold,
    Seven for a secret,
    Never to be told.
    Eight for a wish,
    Nine for a kiss,
    Ten for a bird,
    You must not miss.

    In keeping to the thread, two grey squirrels come intop my back garden nearly every day stealing the bread and porrage flakes I leave out for the robins and house sparrows. The introduced grey squirrels ran most of the red squirrels out of it in Ireland over the last few decades. The greys devoured the feeding of the Reds. But the pine marten is again increasing In Ireland and it can catch greys and eat them. The reds however can outrun pine martens and are increasing in numbers.

    Offline Meg

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #25 on: August 10, 2019, 11:15:57 AM »
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  • Here in western Washington state, the gray squirrels have taken over where once the native squirrels were present, at least in the big cities. Our four native squirrels are: the western gray, Douglas,' red, and flying squirrels. According to an article I found, the invasive eastern gray was brought over in the early 1900's by easterners, who released them into parks and other areas. The eastern grays carry a squirrel pox that's deadly to native red squirrels. The eastern grays also eat nine times as much as the native squirrels.

    Our native squirrels are protected by law, but the non-native eastern grays can be hunted. I've only seen the eastern gray in our neighborhood. They are a common site.

    Article here:


    https://www.tri-cityherald.com/living/home-garden/marianne-ophardt/article187456543.html


    Offline Nadir

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #26 on: August 10, 2019, 07:44:56 PM »
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  • Ditto. It gives me the heebiejeebies to imagine hearing a spider that was outdoors from inside!
    How about this?

    Most spiders are harmless, and if you mind your business they mind theirs. And their business is to get rid of the really nasties, like cockroaches, ants, mossies

    Online 1st Mansion Tenant

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #27 on: August 20, 2019, 12:27:34 AM »
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  • Thanks Nadir, that just took care of all of my Christmas shopping early this year!

    Offline Nadir

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #28 on: August 20, 2019, 04:24:52 AM »
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  • Thanks for the reminder, 1MT. I have to order one for my arachnaphobic daughter's birthday.

    Offline 2Vermont

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    Re: On Squirrels
    « Reply #29 on: August 20, 2019, 06:25:20 AM »
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  • So, what do you all think of a red-tailed (I think) hawk sitting on your deck railing?  Who flew away 2 times only to return again.  Not high in a tree, but just outside your kitchen window sitting on your deck railing.
    "For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come abroad."- Luke 8:17

     

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