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Monday, December 2, 2013

FeederWatching - Week 3

My third weekend of observations for Project FeederWatch was actually delayed by a week because of very inclement weather. Heavy rains and cold kept me indoors on the third weekend of the project, but the weekend just past was much more backyard birder friendly

Things were still pretty slow at the feeders. I only counted thirteen species and most of the birds that we think of as our "winter visitors" were absent. Here's my list.

House Sparrows - 20
Blue Jays - 3
Carolina Chickadee - 2
Pine Warbler - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet -1
American Crow - 2
Eastern Bluebird - 1
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Rufous Hummingbird - 1
Tufted Titmouse - 3
Downy Woodpecker -1
Carolina Wren - 1

Once again, I heard an American Goldfinch overhead, but as far as I know it didn't drop into my yard, so I didn't get to count it.

Although there were not any unusual avian visitors while I was making my observations, there were actually some never-before-seen visitors at the feeders.

We have lived in our home for twenty-five years and in all those years our yard and our neighborhood have been dominated by fox squirrels, the big and aggressive rusty-colored squirrels.

 One of the resident fox squirrels perches on our fence.

In all those years, I have never seen one of the smaller gray squirrels in our yard. Until this past weekend.

While watching the birds, I became aware of a squirrel feeding on the ground. I looked at it and did a double take. It was a gray squirrel! An adult gray squirrel - a female, I think. I went inside to get my camera to document it, but, of course, when I got back outside, the squirrel was gone. But I kept the camera close by and waited and in a while I was rewarded.

Not one, but two gray squirrels showed up. Only it wasn't the adult I had seen earlier. These were babies - two half-grown kits. Progeny of the adult perhaps.

I had crumbled some stale rolls left over from Thanksgiving dinner and spread them on the ground and the little squirrels were enjoying a snack of bread.

 Note the white - or light gray belly - indicative of gray squirrels.

  Also, the backs of the ears are the same light color.

I enjoyed watching the little guys almost as much as I enjoyed watching the birds, even though I couldn't include them on my Project FeederWatch list.  


  1. The other week I saw a black squirrel in our neighborhood. I feel like strange doings are afoot.

    1. Apparently, the squirrels are on the move - maybe looking for new worlds to conquer! I've had some very dark fox squirrels in my yard over the years, but never one that was completely black.

  2. We used to have only fox squirrels in our yards in Cypress. However, they have been largely replaced by gray squirrels over the past 2-3 years.

    1. That's interesting. I would have thought if there was a territorial squabble the larger fox squirrel would have the advantage, but perhaps they are able to coexist. I hope so anyway.