Thirsty Thursday

Frog Bird bath

This here is a pretty fancy bird bath. Ol’ Wally isn’t too sure how many frogs can make a leap that high to get into it, but it’s a good reminder. This time of year the animals that will be out and about this winter are scoping out the places they will get food and water.

If you humans think you are going to put out feeders for the winter, or keep a nice supply of unfrozen water–either by heating it or putting out crest everyday–then NOW is the time to set these up. Once winter hits and we are freezing our little paws off going out and digging those acorns from the frozen ground, we do not have the energy to waste going around searching for other food and water sources. Neither do the birds. You humans may not think we are smart enough to prepare, but I’ll let you in on a secret: most wildlife have a dozen or more known sources they will return to again and again. In the harshest weather, they go to a few most likely spots to refuel.

Let us make your yard one of them!

Fine, fine…Nutmeg is making me get off my high stump… When you get to be as old as this old squirrel, there’s no time for fancy talk.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

This may not be a difficult mystery for some of you, but it’s an important one.

Mystery #107

What is this plant with the attractive fall foliage?

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So we had a few readers who recognize this as Poison Ivy. See the leaves of three? Gorgeous color, isn’t it? But the oil that causes rashes still remains, in the leaves, in the stems, the berries and even the roots. It’s not a good idea to touch Poison Ivy in any form, in any season!

Squirrel Nest Boxes

A conversation with a reader on Thursday–in the comments section if you are interested–led to my promising to post a squirrel nest box. Squirrels would prefer to den or nest in a hollow in an old tree. However, there aren’t many of those around in suburban neighborhoods. We make leaf nests instead, but would happily fill a human-made nest box with leaves instead, especially as winter approaches!

Squirrel Nest Box

These boxes are larger than a bird box and it’s easier for us to get in and out of them if the hole is placed next to the tree trunk.

Nest box

And here is one that was well used!

Gray Squirrel kits

You humans could buy a box, or build your own. Here is one link to plans. Thanks for helping out us squirrels!

Oops, and the near future of The Squirrel Nutwork

Hickory here. My tail is drooping. I suppose most human readers know we bloggers post in advance. And our regular readers also noticed I forgot I had put up a Sunday nature mystery. I’ve now posted the answer–three days late.

The fact of fall is, we squirrels are quite busy now with our acorn harvest. Nutmeg and I had a chitter–I mean a chat…when we discovered we forgot to follow up with you readers. We feel we are letting you down and it will be better to suspend the blog for a while. It’ll be for the winter…maybe longer, if ever, before we return to a regular schedule. We have a few items we still plan to post in the coming weeks, but very soon we’ll put The Squirrel Nutwork into hibernation.

Fall pond

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

The growing season is winding down, but it still seems some areas are unusually green…ahem, the wet ones. so that’s your hint for figuring out this plant.

Mystery #106

Give me your guesses!

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As I posted on Tuesday, sorry for the delay in finishing this blog. Since a reader requested it, here is a plant close-up so you may try to guess the plant:

Mystery plant

But what really helps identify this water plant are the little leaf blades.

Rush

It’s hard to tell in a photograph, but they are all triangular-shaped, meaning these are sedges. Sedges have edges, rushes are round. Sorry we don’t know the exact species.

Visitor!

Hickory is twitching his tail something fierce! A hawk flew into one of his favorite feeding stations and had an accident. He flew into the human’s window.

IMG_3040

While we sat frozen behind other leaves, the hawk wavered. Then he flopped to a branch.

“What’s he doing?” Hickory hissed.

Sitting, I guess. It’s a Cooper’s Hawk, not very old, this year’s hatch.

“But that’s my branch!”

Do you really want to go over and tell him that?

Hickory started to chitter and stopped when the hawk turned our way. “No. Let’s go.” But before we could, the hawk raised his wings and flew off…and seconds later Hickory let loose with his chittering. I ran off to hide. No way was I going to attract a hawk, even a young one.