On the road …again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Where Chickadees and Squirrels Compete
People who read some of the other chronicles of the Footloose Forester probably wonder if everything that is written is really true. Yes, all the stories are true, although it sometimes takes a bit of poetic license to set the stage for the main points. Chronology of events is seldom mentioned because most times the chronology of what transpires does not change the observations. At other times, the chronology of events is the main point. Like now, when the Footloose Forester is struggling to describe how birds, squirrels and deer all compete for the daily rations of birdseed that we load into the bird feeding stations in our back yard.
The six birdfeeders that we currently load with mixtures of seed corn, field grains and thistle were intended to attract songbirds to the rear of our property. We knew that the deer and the squirrels would come, as well; and we see them all on a daily basis.
We often sit in our enclosed rear porch that has windows on three sides and watch for the arrival of various furry and feathered visitors. As the seasons come and go, the bird life is the most varied. Each season has some species that are unique to the circumstances, particularly the temperature; thus as spring bursts forth we see more and more of those birds that seek out flying insects and crawling bugs. Of course, they also will and do eat our birdseed if it is available, which is most of the time. The other creatures also eat what is available, so there is usually a scene of competition, of pre-emptive feeding, or of genuine sharing of what is available. The tableau does require some interpretation of the body language of those who do not speak in words. They speak to us in snorts, chatter, coos, screeching, and warbling. Making the interpretations is part of the fun. An action video embedded at this point would help.
The competition, the pre-emption, and the sharing take place every day
Making our case by using their active images on video film would seem to be the end-all of the evidence that it takes to tell the story of a typical day at the birdfeeders; except for the fact that no day is typical. Although we know that there are seven deer that are part of one family in the area, not all of them appear together each day, so we begin to count them when they show up. The same is true of the squirrels; we have seen five of them at one time, but seldom do more than one or two pay a visit together. One good video of two squirrels and several birds competing for seed is in our archives and is the best evidence, so far, that we have plenty of activity during daylight hours. We will be looking for a media compatible video source program that can be inserted into the story. So far, we have not found one that is compatible at this site. When that problem is rectified, we hope to publish a series of videos showing the furry and feathered friends that hang out just outside our rear windows.