January 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 21, 2014 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. According to Global Animal, the holiday was founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in Asheville, North Carolina.

Here in West Linn, we have two different kinds of squirrels at the bird feeders. The native Douglas Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel on the “non-squirrel-proof” seed feeder.

and the non-native Fox Squirrel.

Red Fox Squirrel and Oregon Junco Loves Sunflower Seeds

Fox Squirrel and Oregon Junco

I’m “on the fence” with my relationship with the squirrels. I can’t say I would call them disgusting rodents, but sometimes they are such pests at the bird feeders.

But that little Douglas squirrel is just darned cute! Though, it does have an annoying way of pip-barking non-stop for long periods of time. I have often wondered why one would persist with such repetitious and sharp vocalizations.

I would not be feeding squirrels intentionally, except I put out sunflower seeds for the birds. I have purchased different styles of feeders in the past, and have been moving towards those feeders and assessories which are designed to be “squirrel proof.” Right now, it’s 50/50 with the feeders which are hung in the maple outside my bedroom window. Obviously, the wooden feeder shown above with the Douglas squirrel on the roof is not one of those so protected. But it does seem to be a favorite to all.

Besides the squirrels, I have seen black-capped chickadees, lesser goldfinches, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, a wren, song sparrow, juncos, towhees, flicker, downy woodpecker, bush tits, townsend warbler and yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s). Also, a hummingbird resides in the big rhododendron, attracted to stay by my two sugar-water-filled red saucer-shaped hummingbird feeders. It often comes here at the same time to feed together with mixed-species assemblages.

A black-capped chickadee rests in the maple tree.

A black-capped chickadee rests in the maple tree.

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