There has been a very interesting surprise in our garden. No, I am not talking about the Naked Ladies popping up here and there around the garden.
When we came home the other evening. As soon as I stepped into the kitchen I looked out the back door and saw a bit of brown in the hole of a bird house that hangs straight out from that door. I couldn't tell what sort of creature was in the hole. I figured it was a house sparrow that got it's head stuck in the hole because the hole is so small that only Chickadees have ever used this box. I went and got my binoculars to have a closer look.
When I looked I almost shouted to my DB ' A flying squirrel...no a big mouse...no A FLYING SQUIRREL!!!'
DB quickly got his bins to confirm. I couldn't hardly believe it. I had only seen a flying squirrel one other time in my life. That one was in Ferdinand State Forest one spring when I was helping a friend clean out bluebird boxes. We found a nest with young flying squirrels.
This little critter is in my garden. Just look at that cute little face. I took these photos through dirty glass and the house was back lit, but I didn't want to miss the photo opportunity. I didn't think anyone would believe me. I couldn't hardly believe me. I didn't know they were in the neighborhood let alone in our garden. After watching the little rodent peeking out of the hole and disappearing inside I started thinking about a few clues that should have warned me there might be a different critter in the garden.
Last October I cleaned out the nest boxes. In this yellow box I found a layer of acorns below a downy soft nest.
I knew that the Chickadee didn't nest in that box last year. Is this the nest of a Flying Squirrel? I bet it is. Why? Because of the acorns in the box, and the thick densely packed nest. Does anyone have any experience with this creature and it's ways?
I have read that their preferred food is acorn. After finding this cache in the nest box I thought maybe some of the grey squirrels that frequent our feeders had stuffed acorns into this box and then chewed the hole trying to get to them again.
Yes, that little turd I found on the shelving that holds several different types of bird houses.Should have been a clue. I think it might belong to the flying squirrel. When I first saw it this past week I thought rat...I rest my case. (S)he might have been checking out the other houses.
I now think this little nocturnal flying squirrel has been the one bringing acorns into the garden and planting them everywhere. All this time I have been blaming the grey squirrels. I bet he is also the one who took away one of my air plants. I wonder if (s)he thought it would be a good padding in it's nest or it was just a tasty treat?