Saturday, July 29, 2017


     July is an interesting time of year to watch Red squirrels.  As I said in my last post they are setting up territory and there's some competition. Sometimes the competitions are a bit odd.

     I do my stretching so that I can look out my front room window. I have a bird feeder out in the front yard so it gives me a few minutes to watch the bird feeder and anything else that happens.

     So a few days ago an event took place. For some reason a Red squirrel was harassing a magpie. The squirrel would chase the magpie and the magpie would just keep ahead of the squirrel. There seemed to be a half dozen short sprints where the squirrel pursued the magpie. The magpie would hide under  car and as soon as he came out the squirrel would chase.

    Now a few years ago I saw a different squirrel magpie confrontation. This time there were two magpies and they had a Red squirrel cornered. The squirrel was on the tree trunk and one magpie was above and the other one below the squirrel. The squirrel wanted to gain the branches of the tree where it would be safe. The magpies were hoping the squirrel would make just one mistake and they would have lunch. The squirrel shifted from one side of the tree to another. He couldn't get up or down.

    Finally the squirrel took a leap from the tree trunk and set off across the yard and street. The magpies flew above the squirrel, but as long as they were in the air the squirrel was safe. The squirrel ran under a fence and it threw the magpies off their game. They just thought the squirrel somehow disappeared and didn't realize the squirrel was on the other side of the fence.

   So the squirrel magpie competition goes both ways.

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Photo by Bill Heinsen