LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Caught Him in the Act

My husband is a very early riser. During the winter, he is up well before sunrise. He hangs the bird feeders and then fills the bird bath with fresh water first thing every morning.

Yesterday morning he hung the feeders as usual. When he was coming back to the deck with the water, he was surprised to see something already at the suet. Being the blogger husband that he is, he put down the water and grabbed the camera. He snapped a few pictures of the flying squirrel who had decided to have breakfast (or perhaps dinner) early. These were truly shots in the dark.

So, why didn't our wonderful "squirrel baffle" keep the flying squirrel away? Simple explanation for that. This squirrel doesn't need to climb up the pole. He easily glides there from a nearby tree. The squirrel was startled at first, but managed to get a few bites of suet before gliding away into the woods. We think this is a Southern flying squirrel because of his smaller size and gray coloring.

Thanks honey, for being so quick with the camera.











The flying squirrel is the only nocturnal tree squirrel in the United States. They often seek shelter in attics where they can cause a lot of damage. We have checked the house carefully to make certain they have no place to enter. We aren't certain where this squirrel lives, but we do see him more often than we would like. Flying squirrels have been known to raid bird nesting boxes and grab the eggs. And you know how we feel about our nesting birds.

28 comments:

KGMom said...

WOW--what a neat set of photos of your night visitor. Good husband for enabling blogging!
As for your squirrel raiding things it should--well, squirrel gotta live too. Isn't this the dilemma? All creatures have to eat to live and sometimes they eat other creatures we love. What to do?

Donna said...

Cute little guy, however, I'm not sure I'd want him in my back yard!

Ruth said...

The trail I visited recently in Ottawa was said to be home to flying squirrels. But I didn't know they were nocturnal. No wonder I didn't see any. Great photos! I agree with Donna...the squirrel has to eat. Perhaps your feeders will keep him away from bird nests.

Cedar ... said...

Picture this: my cat brings in a flying squirrel...still alive. I don't know it's in the house. I'm sitting at the computer and hear a noise overhead on the bookshelf over the window. I look up...Little eyes looking down at me! Then the chase began!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

What a great capture! Those night shots can be difficult but he did a great job!

Too bad that something so cute is such a menace.

Dog_geek said...

He's awfully cute, even if he is an unwelcome visitor. Kudos to your husband for grabbing the camera! Most people don't realize that we have flying squirrels here, since they are nocturnal. We have had a few at our feeders, and one that ran around the window frames on our house for several minutes, driving the cats insane.

Karen said...

We had one come in the house we used to live in several years ago. It gave us such a fright! Somehow my husband trapped it in a laundry basket and let it go.

Appalachian Lady said...

Nice photos. We have had our share of flying squirrels over the years. For a while, they inhabited our attic which isn't good. I would share our suet with them but I have to put it up at night because of the pesky raccoons.

troutbirder said...

I didn't even know they existed. Wow.

Cicero Sings said...

Very interesting shots! I'm glad your husband was so quick to grab the camera.

TheWritersPorch said...

Those are great shots, hubby did good! He's a cutie even if he does spell trouble!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Woooo----I don't think I've ever seen a flying squirrel. When I first saw that thing on your feeder, I thought it was a huge rat... Yipes!!!!!

Glad your hubby got some great pictures.

Hugs,
Betsy

Shellmo said...

Really interesting to see photos of this diabolical squirrel!!

Jane said...

Those are great pictures! Glad that your husband was on-the-spot with the camera!

Jane

iMother2.0 said...

My daughter...well, my husband and myself would LOVE to have such a cute visitor :)

The Birdlady said...

He's pretty cute though; I've got to do some catching up.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Little rascal! Good thing you've got the hubs trained ;o)

Tina said...

He is a cute little creature..but I don't think I would want him living nearby...interesting find so early in the morn!

RuthieJ said...

Flying squirrels are so cute! I would love to see one someday. We have them in Minnesota, but not in my vicinity.
Fox, gray and red squirrels are all cavity nesters and will also go into nest boxes to eat bird eggs (or climb the tree and steal the eggs out of the robin nest--like what happened in my backyard). Baffles on your poles may keep the other squirrels from climbing up to the boxes and if you have bluebird boxes out in open areas, chances are the flying squirrel won't be able to "fly" to the nest box. You can also purchase metal plates to mount over the nest box hole which makes it difficult for squirrels to enlarge the hole by chewing on it (you should be able to find them at a wild bird specialty store--like Wild Birds Unlimited)

Kallen305 said...

Oh my!!! What crazy photos in a good way of course! I wouldn't even of known what it was as I have never seen one before!

dAwN said...

Great shots...I have to chuckle each time i see your suet feeder...it sure has taken a beating by the squirrels

Bird Girl said...

Just the cutest little thing! I really like the way these flying squirrels look. One flew out of a nest box at night and just about scared my sister to death (she lives in NC, too)

Mary said...

What a little athlete! Who's been chewing away on that suet feeder???

Jayne said...

How cool! I can't imagine seeing one fly into the suet feeder!

Steve B said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

robin andrea said...

That's a fantastic set of photos. What a beautiful squirrel. Your husband did a great job under such dark light. Excellent.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Cedar - Oh, I can imagine. They are pretty clumsy on the ground, so I suspect it was a sight.

Karen - A broom and a laundry basket. How would we catch critters without them?

Appalachian Lady - I have heard some real horror stories about attic-living squirrels.

RuthieJ - Our biggest problem during the summer has been raiding the hummingbird feeders that have removable glass flowers. We have checked our nesting boxes closely, and so far no one has tried to expand the holes.

Mary - One little gray squirrel did all that damage. I wondered if he had some teething abnormality since he didn't eat any of the pieces.

scienceguy288 said...

Very cool! I have never seen one of these guys!