FIRST SNOW NOVEMBER 2012

LATE FRIDAY EVENING the wind blew in bringing snow and plummeting temperatures,  Winter knocked at the door to tell us that Golden, Glorious Fall days were over. We greeted a snowy morning and hailed the arrival of a new season.

Three inches of snow blanket the woods surrounding the house. Mountain tops wear marshmallow peaks. Elk bugles no longer sound from the meadows. Our Stellar’s Jay has only Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatch for competition at the feeder.

Along with an occasional visit from his Corvid cousin, the Magpie, who drops in below for peanuts.

So peaceful.  So quiet. But, as I gaze out at the pristine stillness of this snow-covered morning, I recall a warmer, more hectic season when we are out smarted, out numbered, out witted and out maneuvered by scurrying, skittering packs of disarmingly “cute” artful dodgers…Rodents!  Order: mammalia. Class: rodentia. 

IMG_0054

True, rodents are part of the wildlife we claim to love so much, but the term wildlife usually brings to mind large charismatic mammals like elk, deer, bear and cougar. All animals that prefer to live apart from humans.  Unfortunately the same term also includes smaller, not-so-charismatic mammals that prefer to live with humans.  Because we  feed birds, we get to meet these charming, ravenously destructive little critters up close and in person. Here follows The Critter Chronicles.

Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels
Note:
Chipmunks are small and have stripes on their faces like the photo above.  Ground Squirrels are larger, fatter and have no stripes on their faces like in the photo below.

This Ground Squirrel was so full, so fat, so happy

I could easily pet him as he gobbled up bird seed.

The critters were beating the birds to the feeders and wolfing down more than their share of expensive seed. Note the bulging cheek pouches on Chip ‘n Dale below!!

So we put up a new, more inaccessible (we thought) feeder just for the birds.

At first they were flummoxed and stood and stared at the seed just out of reach. Richard and I declared victory that was short lived.  We hadn’t counted on pole dancers!

Humans = zero,  Critters = 10

And we have only ourselves to blame.

Photo of a very bad human caught in the act.

To be Continued:  CRITTER CHRONICLES

 

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