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Friday, June 17, 2016

Acrobatic Squirrels and Stalking Yorkies

We have had some real entertainment in our garden  regarding the bird-feeding station which we set up fairly recently. We keep replenishing the various hanging feeders which are on it. We got four feeders which came with the set (purchased on Amazon) and have since added a round wire peanut feeder as well as half-shell coconuts. We get a variety of birds visiting the feeding station, mostly starlings, blue tits and some unidentified birds as well as a couple of pigeons and even a very large crow which sat on the thing briefly as well as a magpie. There are two more bits of the feeding station which I have since removed, a water bowl which fits onto the upright of the station by means of a circular arrangement which clips on to the stand as well as a wire bowl which has a similar attachment and is meant for seeds or other types of food which don't go on the hanging feeders. I took them off because we had a couple of pigeons which visited and sat on these bowls and hogged the entire feeding station. The pigeons seem to have given up attempting to eat the food since these items were removed. Then the other day I went into the lounge and looked out of the window into the garden and saw a squirrel sitting on the feeding station. It was a surprise as I couldn't work out how it got onto the thing. I was soon to discover when I saw one of the other squirrels (I think there are three living around here, possibly with young in a nest (dray) somewhere in the trees and bushes which fringe the Redway which runs behind this house.)  I was really shocked to see a squirrel climbing up the metal support of the feeding station! Then at the weekend, when Carol and I were sitting in the lounge, no doubt watching television, a squirrel came and sat on the shed which forms part of the dividing fence belonging to our neighbours to the left (Shelley and Gary). Then it did a spectacular leap right onto the feeding station! It's a wonder it didn't impale itself on the finial on the top of the feeding station, and then it proceeded to do a wide range of acrobatic stunts, hanging upside down at one point and scrambling all over the thing. Quite amazing.

The bird-feeding station, minus birds

Starling on the bird-feeding station (taken with my newly-acquired macro lens.)

 Starling eating from coconut shell

Acrobatic squirrel climbing DOWN the pole 
from the bird-feeding station!

Alfie, our Yorkshire Terrier, about whom I have mentioned in many of my blog posts, has quite a thing about the cats which come into our garden. Mentioned repeatedly that he and Poppy, our other dog, don't really like pussycats and particularly those who drift into their territory and sit on the shed roof and walk along the top of the fence. Quite pleasant and friendly in their way and totally oblivious to the fact that the dogs are barking furiously at them. But the other day Alfie showed a particular behaviour which I have never seen before. He went out through the patio doors from the kitchen and stood staring at the cat which sat on the shed, diagonally from him at the door. Then he moved very slowly towards the cat, almost in slow-motion, stopping every few feet and just staring and standing with one forepaw raised (a bit like a Pointer.) He did something similar a few days ago, just standing, stock-still, with a forepaw raised and just staring at the cat. Really odd. I suppose it's terrier behaviour and would have been instinctive as Yorkshire Terriers were bred to hunt down and kill rats and mice in cotton mills in Yorkshire. We've seen how good he is at dispatching vermin when we lived at the house in Crownhill, when we were inundated by rats and he managed to kill one, a good deal bigger than himself, one morning. The way he shook it (similar to the way he plays with his toys, by shaking.) was quite startling and very surprising.
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