Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Squirrel Vacation? March 1, 2009

Filed under: fauna,winter — greenwalks @ 11:11 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s kind of weird to even say this, but I haven’t seen any squirrels around lately and I kind of, well, miss them.

Yes, I know I complain about them endlessly, write them angry letters, and concoct horrid potions to keep my garden safe from their terrorizing ways. But I am starting to wonder where they’ve gone. Nesting? Greener pastures? Trip to the Bahamas? The Great Beyond?

At the Seattle Audubon Society shop last week, I picked up a few books and other fun things, including this handy pamphlet about my furry friends/foes.

Enjoying Squirrels More (Or Less)

I might have put myself firmly in the “less” category, but my new philosophy (at least until they decapitate my sunflowers again) is to try to build my garden so that it is wildlife-friendly and does not involve so many battles between me and the critters.

There were some mystery tracks in the snow the other day – maybe a stealth pre-dawn foray by a bushy-tailed one?

Squirrel Tracks in Snow

Maybe they’ve all just gone off to live at my daughter’s friend’s house, where the parents abandon all caution and actually put out food, right outside their front window, so the kids can get a close-up view of squirrels making pigs of themselves. Look at that beady little eye – no fear whatsoever!

Ballard squirrel on porch

What is your philosophy about gardening with sometimes-pesky wildlife? Live and let munch? All out war? Or something in between?


20 Responses to “Squirrel Vacation?”

  1. Racquel Says:

    I try to co-exist with the little pests since there seems to be no other alternative at the moment. πŸ˜‰

  2. Catherine Says:

    I think you’re squirrels may be here. They’ve been in the bird feeders and one was in the bird bath yesterday. They used to drive me crazy, but I’ve decided to just live with them.
    I love the title of the book!

  3. Catherine Says:

    I meant your. No coffee yet πŸ™‚

  4. GardenJunkie Says:

    Despite the fact that they’re basically rats with furry tails, I have to admit that they’re pretty cute. Squirrels don’t do too much damage here. I plant several thousand bulbs so if they eat a few I probably won’t even notice. And I got a great bird feeder with a squirrel baffle that really works so they haven’t gotten into the seed or suet (they used to tear it apart within an hour!). It’s the racoons I don’t like. They live in the storm drain in front of the house and decimate the tomatoes in the summer. Not to mention the hungry possums that eat the peas in spring. But since there’s not much I can do about them, I just put up as much chicken wire as I can stand to look at and for the rest, I just let the critters be…

  5. Laura Says:

    Is that who snipped off our sprouting sunflowers last year? The mystery is solved!
    We have a big black walnut tree in our yard and they love to eat the walnuts (no problem there) and leave piles of walnut husk mush all over our walkways and on our portch (slight problemo with that).

  6. Melanthia Says:

    They’re here and you’re welcome to come get some if you like. One was trying to get to the suet in our new bird feeder. Little devils. Our dogs enjoy running them out of the yard, so they aren’t too much of a problem.

  7. easygardener Says:

    Three squirrels appeared here today. I quite enjoy our tactical battles though I suspect the squirrels are very contemptuous of my efforts. It would be dull without them.
    I realise I am saying these nice things because they have not been ultra annoying recently. Things may change!

  8. I might have to get that squirrel guide, too. We have several of them here, roaming around and eating bulbs. In a way, I don’t mind; they still are much less destructive than the deer I used to have in my garden in Sweden. In general, I try (yes, try) to think that the animals were probably first in the place that later became my garden… Even if it is not always that easy.

  9. πŸ™‚ this brought a smile to my face – thanks.
    I am so lucky in this garden as we don’t have too much pesky wildlife – only one squirrel.
    All wildlife has moved next door since they got chickens, as there is so much chicken feed around.
    Now … if a rabbit came into my kitchen garden, well that’s another story.

  10. kristi Says:

    I don’t care for them raiding my garden, however they have done minimal damage compared to other pests.
    (mice). I would never open feed them though! Geesh, that’s asking for trouble.

  11. Sue Says:

    I can’t remember what I’ve said about squirrels when I posted about them. I kind of have a like/hate relationship with them. They eat bites out of my tomatoes in the summer, and I hate that, but don’t know what to do about it. We used to ignore them as much as we could, but this year, we have been feeding them. They are also eating our bird seed.

    They also took the heads off of my sunflowers last summer, and knocked a couple of the plants down. I had even taken some of the heads off and put them on a bench, but they were greedy and wanted them all.

    I hope when yours come back, you aren’t sorry for missing them. ;o)

  12. chris Says:

    Ahh yes… The Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) Growing up, I was led to believe there was only one squirrel and his name was Armond. I vividly remember sitting around the breakfast table on Saturday mornings and catching a glimpse of him as he dashed along our backyard fence. I now enjoy looking for Armond with my two year old son. Fortunately he has not caused to much trouble other than a few holes in the lawn and that could be the raccoons who live in the neighbors yard!?

  13. I find them fairly amusing and benign. Oh, I know they’re always digging up my bulbs and eating my pecan crop, and chewing through my garden hoses, and…Okay, maybe they aren’t so benign. I still find it easy to ignore them.

    Except when they throw pecans at me πŸ˜€ (yes, it happens.)

    Maybe yours have gone south for a little sun-drenched R&R.

  14. Jen Says:

    They don’t come around so much now because of my dog. I used to be one of the ones who put food out for them. I thought it might prevent them from going after my bulbs –but I was wrong. Cmon, admit you think they’re cute….!

  15. For me, “Enjoying Squirrels” would be a cookbook.

  16. RainGardener Says:

    They are cute but I know they can be a nuisance. We don’t see too many squirrels here but have chipmunks. Do they cause the same problems? I know my husband insulated the pump house and they just had a ball ripping it out. It was a disaster – looks like they had fun. I guess I don’t notice what they do as much as the deer and rabbits destroying things and for them we’ve started using spray that seems to keep them away from our flowers so we can still enjoy seeing the wildlife without getting mad at them.

  17. Alice Joyce Says:

    My garden is certainly squirrel-wildlife friendly, as was my Chicago plot (that city is overrun with squirrels). But try as I might, I dislike their fuzzy rodent presence, and can’t seem to warm to their incessant activity in the garden.

  18. Megan Says:

    My squirrels have been surprisingly well behaved, but I wonder if that’s because my dogs run them off before they get too much opportunity for mischief. You might need a dog.

  19. Matron Says:

    I used to enjoy feeding the birds on my balcony, but this only encouraged the squirrels who came up and discovered all my lovely seed trays and plant pots, and precious seedlings – all destroyed. Sadly I stopped feeding the birds and the squirrels went away!

  20. Benjamin Says:

    I like the wildlife. In the past few weeks we’ve had a dozen different birds, opposum, raccoon, and squirrels. We’ve tried corn for the squirrels, and that keeps them away from the feeder for a day or two. Worth it to me. We do put out scraps, but maybe shouldn’t. I like to think we’re keeping them occupied, diverted, but it’s probably just bringing them in on a bus.

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