Our morning coffee has been served up with entertainment over the past week: a small, lively and highly agile acrobat has been performing right outside our living room window. (Click photo to enlarge; more photos below.)

Squirrelly is normally away in the forest, busy gathering Douglas fir cones (which are abundant on our property) and caching them in the many mounded middens he’s created. Douglas fir seeds are, after all, a favorite food for Red squirrels, and we often see him sitting on a tree limb, munching on a cone.

Most years he shows up at our bird feeder in late spring, presumably in search of a bit of variety. Or maybe “he” is actually “she”, and is seeking some extra nutrition for a young pup.

This year Squirrelly came a couple of months early – perhaps a signal that after our long, cold winter, the midden is low on grub. Fortunately he/she doesn’t ask for much: just a few sunflower seeds each morning, collected in a display of derring-do, and daintily eaten one at a time.

The morning show is well worth the cost of a few seeds, and after the winter we’ve had, we figure we should give the little guy/gal a break. So we’re welcoming our acrobatic visitor – at least for now.

See below for the impressive technique that Squirrely learned in about half an hour of trial and error. Even as I write this post, she’s learning yet more tricks that I haven’t yet had a chance to photograph!

The approach: checking out that roof and what lies below.

Hanging on with back feet, lifting the roof with front feet.

Squirrel in bird feeder

Stretch the neck and reach down with the mouth. Note the five little toe pads braced against inside of feeder.

Squirrel eating a sunflower seed.

The reward: big black sunflower seeds, enjoyed one at a time. Yummy!

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

5 responses »

  1. […] Cirque du Matin wildlife can provide perfect photography fodder for those who are in the right place at the right time, often performing candid acts that are a delight and wonder to see. Laurie MacBride shares a delightful interaction with a squirrel in this post that includes a series of shots featuring this acrobatic wonder as it goes about pilfering some seeds every morning in their bird feeder. […]

  2. Sherry Galey says:

    You and Squirelly gave me a good chuckle. You really captured his or her gymnastic abilities well plus that lovely “posed” shot at the end, lol. I’m glad you’re giving Squirelly a break. He/she deserves it for ingenuity and perseverance.

    • While I was finishing off the post, Alan was watching a new innovation through the window: Squirrelly was grabbing a seed, then hanging upside down from the fence rail to eat it (rather than climbing back up onto the rail as before). He/she is a very smart little critter indeed!

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