Sunday, June 10, 2012

Of Squirrels and Men

Why do men always think they have to fix things?  Lately, squirrels have been overrunning our bird feeder, while hungry little songbirds wait, high in the trees, hoping there will be some small morsel left for them when the gluttony is over.  In his attempt to right the situation, my husband Don, the fixer in question, has been shooting squirrels.

There, it's out.




When Don was young, he hunted squirrels, in part, to assuage his hunger, but they were hard to clean, and nowadays we have better options for meals.  As much as he hates wasting meat, all it takes to send him running for his gun is to see a fat squirrel hogging the bird feeder. I'm not condoning or condemning this behavior, only relating the facts.

Don tells me in his defense that squirrel season is open, he has his hunting license, and there are hundreds of squirrels on our property.  As he puts it, "since they have abundant crops of acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, and other squirrel menu items, why should they have to eat the bird seed?  I only shoot the bad guys.  They're the ones that don't stop with eating the bird seed; they're not content until they eat the bird feeder, too. "





Don's slaughter of these defenseless animals has had some unintended consequences. Vultures have started camping out behind our house, fighting over the squirrels, messing up the patio, and cleaning out the shell of a recently diseased snapping turtle (let's not get into how that happened).




  

The other afternoon, while I was working downstairs, I heard a peck on the window and went up to investigate.  There, sitting in the bird feeder, was a black vulture, demanding his squirrel for lunch.































And where were all the songbirds?  Well, naturally, those poor little things were high in the trees, waiting, once again, for a place at the feeder.


The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.

Robert Burns






Linking with Wild Birds Wednesday
and Your Sunday Best




31 comments:

pens and needles said...

When one lives in the country, one must be a countryman, and taking care of home and ... birdfeeder ... is part of being a countryman. I doubt if the squirrel population of OC will suffer from your hunter's instincts. I'm with him.

pens and needles said...

That didn't sound right. I don't mean that Don can't hit a squirrel -- I meant
there are going to be plenty left, even if he does away with a bunch of 'em.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Beautiful pictures.. Amazing Zopilote o Zamuro.. Regards..

Wanda plain~N~simple said...

LoL... reading this post is a reminder to me of what my husband has been doing. Our feeders have also been taken over by squirrels, so over the past few weeks,he started trapping and releasing them elsewhere in the county! Last count was 14 and that was an hour ago!

Jennifer Richardson said...

hilarious:)
shooting squirrels would be like
blasting away at our dog's favorite chew toys!
(well, they don't actually chew the little critters but they give chase with such joy that they'd likely grieve if they were no longer available for the games)
But I remember my grandpa dutifully shooting the offenders
who stole or mussed up his nut trees.
So funny, your story.
thanks for sharing,
Jen

heyBJK said...

That's quite the string of consequences, although I have to say I love your shot of the Black Vulture! It's kinda rare to see those on a blog. Normally, it's the Turkey Vultures. I only had to deal with 3 squirrels at the feeders last winter. I can't imagine having hundreds in the area. They are persistent and difficult to keep away from feeders.

S. Etole said...

I finally had to stop feeding the birds as the squirrels were getting downright aggressive.

Sandra said...

Hmmmm. That's quite a story. I think I would prefer squirrels hanging around the bird-feeders to vultures. When the natural course of events are tampered with, there are consequences! I love that last shot of the red bird looking at the latest events!
Do wild birds actually still need feeding in the warm months?

Kia said...

Wow, I am impressed you have so many wildlife in your property! :D
Beautiful shots!

Kia said...

I meant wild animals. sorry for my bad English. :)

Pat said...

I won't tell the sweet little squirrel that comes timidly across the deck and gets a peanut from me.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Funny and entertaining post. I must admit I get the urge to grab the bb gun when I see rabbits eating our plants (not to kill... just to scare them off).

NatureStop said...

Beautiful shots...each and every one...Have a great day!

Shantana

EG CameraGirl said...

Squirrels may be cute but they often wear out their welcome. We attract them to our have-a-heart trap and transport them to "summer camp" in the forest a few miles from our property. :))

TexWisGirl said...

wanna ship your husband here to eliminate a few of my furry feeder friends? :)

Modesto Viegas said...

Very good post!!!

Gary said...

You'll have trouble with songbirds, while those vultures are around. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Andrew said...

A wonderful post Connie.. squirrels are a big problem for me also but I do smile at their antics.

mick said...

We don't have squirrels out here in Australia so I can just laugh at their antics. An interesting set of unintended consequences!

HansHB said...

Great post, - lovely to see!

Adam Jones said...

There are plenty of squirrels here in my English garden. Feel free to pop over with your gun. Nice post.

eileeninmd said...

Funny story and post. I have the same problem. MY bird feeders usually have more squirrels on them than birds. They need to go somewhere. I enjoyed the post and your photos.

Lisa Gordon said...

Uh oh!!
He sure looks like he means business Connie!! :-)
These are wonderful images.

elena nuez said...

those are gorgeous!!!

a big hello from Spain,
elena

Mary Howell Cromer said...

You gave me my morning giggle and I know too well about those pesky critters. I hand raised 63 in an 8 year period and what was I thinking...I have no idea, I released all of them in the area of our 2 acres. Even with only two mating seasons a year, with lots of hawks and yes, hunting seasons, we are over run and I cannot say a word, less I look myself straight into the mirror. That was many years ago, and we have more, and more generations, making their debut;'(~

Rosemary Aubut said...

Beautiful photos, what beauty surrounds you! How wonderful!

Karen said...

Great photos! I've never seen a vulture in detail.

Nancy Claeys said...

Connie, I can totally relate to this post, as my hubby shot squirrels as a young boy to supplement his family's dinner. I have no issue with this.

Great photos as usual and Thank you for sharing at YSB this week. xoxo

Em S said...

Oh to be a part of the animal kingdom. Those are some pretty amazing photos you got!

Liz said...

Beautiful images! We don't have squirrels in AUs, so I find their antics quite amusing.
I love the songbird... such a beautiful colour!

JOY @ http://joysjotsshots.blogspot.com/ said...

Your red cardinal against the green background just popped out of the webpage over at "Rural Journal." enJOYed your story and all the pics. As bad as it is, it's part of the food chain, hunting that is. I do consider it worse that animals become over populated and diseased and die a slow way.