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TomJH

The Intelligence of Birds

89 posts in this topic

Not sure how he pulled that off. Dogs can't climb trees. A housecat can be inches away from a gray squirrel and still not lay a claw on it.

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24 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Did you try the fake hawk call generator? The one which municipal parks use to keep pigeons away?

or what about this:

https://tinyurl.com/ydfvytrd

Under $30. Motion-activated water-cannon yard sprinkler. When any varmint crosses the field of fire, the thing swivels around and blasts a jet of water at it. Hooks up to your garden hose. Humane!

I never heard of that.

I'll tell you one thing, though, a blast of cold water from a water hose did wonders to get rid of a skunk that was hanging around my yard too often this summer. I never saw one of those black and white critters move so fast once it got hit with the water and I haven't seen him in my yard since.

Remember that, folks: skunks don't like water!

By the way, did you know that the gland that skunks use for their spray runs out after a while, and it can take the animal up to ten days before he can squirt someone again? In the meantime he will try to bluff it out if he sees a predator. Mind you, who the heck is going to get near enough to a skunk to find out if he is out of his stench?

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10 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Not sure how he pulled that off. Dogs can't climb trees. A housecat can be inches away from a gray squirrel and still not lay a claw on it.

I can see my dog house from here!

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WFIJaf1.jpg

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Latest Update on Operation Get Red Squirrel:

This morning I could see from my porch that the live trap's door had sprung closed overnight. Joyously I ran to the cage only to find no creature in it. All of the bait, however, was gone.

I don't know, of course, who sprung the door overnight but, let's not kid ourselves, it was the Rodent From Hell!

All day yesterday I watched him bounding around my yard like he owned the place, hanging upside down from a branch to grab bird seed from the bird feeder while scaring the birds away, chasing off a rival big black squirrel for the booty to be found on my property, jumping on top of the live trap and reaching through its bars for some of the bait. He's laughing at me. He thinks he's beaten me.

18613949801_b6c64b373a_b.jpg

But I know better.

This morning I smeared fresh peanut butter once again across the trigger plate then stuck bread with gobs of peanut butter on it on the peanut butter smear. He has to step on the trigger to get them. I also placed sunflower seeds, which I saw yesterday that he loves, directly under the trap protruding through its floor bars. He can't get at those sunflower seeds without stepping on the trigger plate either.

Please, Santa, please, all I want for Christmas is this one furry red gift!

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17 hours ago, hamradio said:

Varmint ridder.

golden-retriever-retrieving-squirrell1.j

 

17 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Not sure how he pulled that off.

That squirrel was already long dead when that dog got a hold of him, rigor mortis had already set in.

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6 hours ago, TomJH said:

Latest Update on Operation Get Red Squirrel:

This morning I could see from my porch that the live trap's door had sprung closed overnight. Joyously I ran to the cage only to find no creature in it. All of the bait, however, was gone.

I don't know, of course, who sprung the door overnight but, let's not kid ourselves, it was the Rodent From Hell!

All day yesterday I watched him bounding around my yard like he owned the place, hanging upside down from a branch to grab bird seed from the bird feeder while scaring the birds away, chasing off a rival big black squirrel for the booty to be found on my property, jumping on top of the live trap and reaching through its bars for some of the bait. He's laughing at me. He thinks he's beaten me.

18613949801_b6c64b373a_b.jpg

But I know better.

This morning I smeared fresh peanut butter once again across the trigger plate then stuck bread with gobs of peanut butter on it on the peanut butter smear. He has to step on the trigger to get them. I also placed sunflower seeds, which I saw yesterday that he loves, directly under the trap protruding through its floor bars. He can't get at those sunflower seeds without stepping on the trigger plate either.

Please, Santa, please, all I want for Christmas is this one furry red gift!

Sure sounds like you're gonna get him this time...
Question is, once you've caught him, what ya gonna do with him.
He's likely fattened up enough by now on seeds and peanut butter to make a nice little xmas side dish.
But if you plan to set him free somewhere else, you may be in for a rather long ride.
Not sure what the homing instincts are for red squirrels, and they do almost all look alike (unless they are tagged or marked with distinguishing battle scars).
Also, moving this tough little dude out of your neighborhood and you may be in for even bigger problems.
I don't want to scare you, but remember what happened in Iraq, with the Taliban and ISIS???

One option might be to keep him incarcerated in your yard.  He might be loud enough to serve as an example to help keep those other cons in line. Of course you'd have to keep him healthy, even if NOT happy. 
But might be worth a trial, to see what happens for awhile.
If no other worse gangsters move in to fill the power vacuum, then you might want to set him free, but far far away.
Okay warden. I'll shut my yap now, and the rest is up to you!

(somehow I think that a little of Sgt_Markoff may be rubbing off on me?) :unsure:

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4 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Sure sounds like you're gonna get him this time...
Question is, once you've caught him, what ya gonna do with him.
 

Where will I take him? There's a batch of woods about a mile away. I'm sorry if he torments any of the neighbours who live nearby but I've paid my dues!

The problem is, so far, the red menace just isn't obliging by getting caught in my trap. I've been watching him this morning bouncing around my yard as if there were springs on his feet (maybe there's a trampoline under my grass I don't know about).

He's all around the trap and he has sat on top of it, too. And, yes, at one moment my heart was in my mouth as I saw him go into the trap but he darted out again without hitting the trigger. Darn!

Just now I saw him picking up something in the grass beside the trap and start to eat it. Just beside the trap! I keep muttering, "There's peanut butter in the trap, you miserable little . . .. You know you want it! Go inside. Go. Inside!!!!"

And so this is my life the day before we celebrate Peace On Earth, only there's no peace for me now, watching a red creature tease me like this. And not for a second do I think he's not loving it.

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This is what I am living to see, folks. Then it's off to the woods we go . . . (I hope).

 

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

There's a batch of woods about a mile away.

A mile eh, hmmm, doesn't quite seem far enough to me.
Squirrels have pretty good memories. For the most part seed stashers like Reds, have better than average recall for where their caches are. That's what carries them through the winter. Though my observations have shown me that some middens may not be revisited for a very long time, if ever again. Even when the squirrel who made that stash is alive and well in the area. It may be natures way of feeding other critters (sorta like the way trickle down economics is supposed to work???) or perhaps it helps insure the growth of another tree, as on more than one occasion I've seen a spruce sapling emerging from a squirrel midden.

Tree squirrels like Reds and greys aren't true hibernators, but when it gets really cold they hunker down and sleep a lot.
My little "friend" was quite stuporous during the cold snap that he hijacked my tp can.
So it must be pretty temperate right now where you are.

North American Red squirrels appear to be quite territorial.
Depending on how dense the local populations and how plentiful the food supply, they appear to stake out an area ranging from a favorite tree to a circuit of several trees.
But squirrels are no respecter's of each other's "territory" and they will encroach and rob each others middens whenever they can. So reds are almost always on their guard, and rarely seen sharing the same tree unless it is mating season, or they are a family unit (mother and young), or when food is so plentiful that they have no need to fight. But often, even in times of plenty, they will attempt to run others off. It is that type of defensive lifestyle that makes them so fiercely aggressive.

So you may find that same red returning to your yard, but this time his little mind will recall the hazards of that trap, and as difficult a time as you are having now, you'll have an even harder time trying to catch him with the same tricks again. And if not he, then another squirrel will no doubt quickly move in, taking his place.

Suggestion, when you do catch him (and I have confidence that it will happen as you are so determined) try tagging or marking him in some way, so that when the next squirrel does move in, you'll be able to know whether it's this same squirrel or not.

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1 hour ago, Stephan55 said:

A mile eh, hmmm, doesn't quite seem far enough to me.
Squirrels have pretty good memories. For the most part seed stashers like Reds, have better than average recall for where their caches are.

You may well be right, Stephen. When I purchased the live trap from a hardware store I spoke to the owner, telling him it was a small red squirrel that was bothering me. He said his feedback is that they are particularly difficult to get rid of, and spoke of one guy who used the same trap as mine but had to catch him six times because he kept returning (unless it was a different animal, of course). He said this guy said he finally got rid of the red after dumping him off thirty miles from his home.

I may take him to a nearby marsh, if I catch him, which is further away. Anyway it's still an academic conversation since the trap still hasn't caught him (and he's all over the place all around it). Yes ,the temperatures are very mild now in southern Ontario and this animal is very active right now. It's almost like he's bi polar except that he's on a constant mania high with his constant activity.

I keep checking the back wall of my tool shed. He's already chewed four holes in it and dumped about two hundred pine cones inside. I've filed the holes with foam insulation (it looks like hell) and threw out the cones. Needless to say, he's driving me nuts.

I noticed that, just like the birds, he seems to disappear each day when it starts to get dusky.

Thanks for your squirrel knowledge. With your woods experiences you've obviously had more than your share of encounters with the critters, as well.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

I may take him to a nearby marsh, [**and drown him**] if I catch him, ...

Ha Ha, Yeah, Reddies are kinda manic.
Their metabolism runs really high. Not as high as a shrew, but up there.
I remember reading or hearing somewhere that tree squirrels can burn their entire body weight in calories about every week or so.
They spend about 90 percent of every waking hour foraging to make up for that and are most active from dawn to dusk, sometimes taking a little siesta break during the hottest part of the day.
(Of course this does not apply to flying squirrels which are primarily nocturnal.)

They seem to instinctively know that they will lose part of their food cache to thievery so they attempt to "hide" way more than what they actually need each year before the winter months arrive. And store their stash in several different locations.
Sounds like your squirrel was trying to make a food midden out of your tool shed.

As you are well aware they are natural acrobats and have grasping "hands," they are omnivorous, and possess an ultra survival instinct which makes them a difficult adversary when they conflict with us and become a "pest."
But it could be worse, raccoons possess all of those same traits and are considerably more intelligent and adaptable.

But on the bright side, he is stimulating you. Keeping you active and challenged.
It is a duel between your big and clever problem solving brain and his tiny, instinctual, survival oriented brain.
You will prevail, but be gentle in your victory.
After all his kind far predates our kind. Their habitat is ever shrinking, while ours is ever expanding.
Perhaps you can find a suitable compromise... a way to co-exist and live together in harmony? :)

Seriously though, I do admire your patient humaneness. I know of many that would have permanently eliminated such a "problem" long before now.

**Post Quote Disclosure: [not part of posters original post]**

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17 minutes ago, Stephan55 said:


It is a duel between your big and clever problem solving brain and his tiny, instinctual, survival oriented brain.
You will prevail,

 

You're right, Stephen! I am MAN!

I am a superior thinking being who can out wit any little creature digging holes in my backyard and tool shed.

I WILL TRIUMPH!!!

 

 

 

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"That's what he thinks."

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As an aside,
whenever I see a picture of a red squirrel, I can't help but recall that when I was on a technical website that this one Jarhead poster (a former Marine) had a picture of a red squirrel as his avatar.

The squirrel was a boar, and standing upright on his hind legs, almost in a boxing stance, and revealing his prominent oversized  t e s t i c l e s .
He had an appropriately clever screen name that accompanied this image every time he posted. 
A few of the females on that board made a few observational comments regarding his avatar, and I remember how he braggingly assured them that the "real thing" was just as proportionately prominent.
Not sure if the ladies there were really impressed by that or not, though I seem to recall a few hmmms and aahhhs being posted in response. :rolleyes:

Another reason to admire your little red friend is he behaves like he has some really big balls. ;)

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1 minute ago, Stephan55 said:


Another reason to admire your little red friend is he behaves like he has some really big balls. ;)

That's right, he does, and the other night he kept me awake bouncing them all over my attic!

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My bird feeder blew over in a wind storm a while back. When I put it back up it will be on

a shorter pole so I no longer have to get the ladder out each time it needs to be refilled.

That gets very tiresome after a while. I like squirrels and if they want to raid the bird

feeder, which they will do, I don't mind. The next door county is famous for its white

squirrels. We just have your everyday grey ones. 

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Great thread!

Re OP: Blue Jays are the only relative of crows in the US. As you may know, crows are particularly intelligent birds. I feed a flock of crows and it's fun getting them to trust you. I even have crow "decoys". My crows get peanuts, granola & dried worms.

I've seen owls while horseback riding in Mass & central NY. It's amazing to actually see one fly- they are huge but eerily silent. Most birds you can hear the faint sound of the air against their wings, but not owls.

When I lived on a farm, I used to hear the high pitched whinny of screech owls and thought it was suburban kids taunting my horses. Once, a screech owl fell down my wood stove chimney. I fashioned a cage in front of the door to capture him so I could safely transport him through the house. I observed him a few minutes before releasing him, it certainly was a thrill to be so close to even a little owl.

Feeding birds/not squirrels is an art. Hanging feeders with baffles and from jiggly wires usually works, you don't have to spend a fortune. Squirrels are welcome ground feeding. 

Nothing is worse than a hawk victimizing a bird at your feeder. I create safe cover around all my feeders ground area too. I have all sorts of chickadees, catbirds, wrens & finches nest in my yard in the summer. Guess it's a particular style of "gardening". 

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I've seen owls while horseback riding in Mass & central NY. It's amazing to actually see one fly- they are huge but eerily silent. Most birds you can hear the faint sound of the air against their wings, but not owls.

When I lived on a farm, I used to hear the high pitched whinny of screech owls and thought it was suburban kids taunting my horses. Once, a screech owl fell down my wood stove chimney. I fashioned a cage in front of the door to capture him so I could safely transport him through the house. I observed him a few minutes before releasing him, it certainly was a thrill to be so close to even a little owl.

 

I find owls to be particularly fascinating birds, and in honour of them on this Christmas Day, am posting a few images of these amazing creatures who prefer to fly and hunt by night (though the time I saw one it was daylight):

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Barn owl

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Great Horned Owl

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Long Earred Owl

Spectacled-Owl-Rain-Forest-Greenery.jpg.

Spectacled Owl (He does look a little glass eyed, doesn't he?)

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Oriental Bay Owl

Eastern-Screech-Owl-Hollow-Tree-Stump.jp

Eastern Screech Owl

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Snowy Owl

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Eurasian Eagle Owl

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Great Gray Owl

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Northern Pygmy Owl

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Burrowing Owls (Yup, as the name suggests, these guys live in holes in the ground, not in trees)

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Collared Scops-Owl

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The sight of an owl in silent flight is something you'll never forget

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Barn-Owl-Flying-Sep-17-Blog.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

The sight of an owl in silent flight is something you'll never forget

Yeah, especially if you're a rodent.

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This Snowy owl looks better.

1920x1080-snowyowl.jpg

 

 

Like this commercial where a blind man can hear an owl the couple can't see.

 

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The owls in my neighborhood look like these, Great Horned Owls:

AR-604160345.jpg

They nest in the trees all around my property. I once had a lengthy staring contest with one in my back yard. It was during the day, and it was perched on a lower branch of a tree. I think it may have been interested in my dogs, or it had been stalking squirrels (of which there are many in my yard). 

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35 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The owls in my neighborhood look like these, Great Horned Owls:

AR-604160345.jpg

They nest in the trees all around my property. I once had a lengthy staring contest with one in my back yard. It was during the day, and it was perched on a lower branch of a tree. I think it may have been interested in my dogs, or it had been stalking squirrels (of which there are many in my yard). 

I have a little red one I wish I could introduce him to.

27107088578_f0b2d794d2_b.jpg

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DID YOU KNOW . . .

The Great Horned Owl has a poor sense of smell.

img_1413.jpg

This may explain why it is the only consistent predator of skunks. Some dogs too dumb to know may go after skunks, as well. Unlike this owl, however, they'll find out in a hurry that it was a mistake.

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Pre-Historic Cave Art of The Snowy Owl

9f4624443340720656d2a1a1c333a57f.jpg

From the Paleolithic Era in France. Could this bird have inspired the first bird art in history?

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Donald Spoto, who was my teacher for a Hitchcock course, said that Hitchcock was impressed and inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's essay on birds. Not only did it influence Hitchcock's The Birds; it influenced it's predecessor as well: Psycho. Remember all those stuffed birds behind Norman Bates; and remember that Janet Leigh's character was Marian Crane from Phoenix.

1-duck-leonardo-da-vinci.jpg

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