Squirrels: They’re back!

In early June I planted a row of sunflower seeds along the front deck. Within a week they were gone, consumed by our neighborhood squirrels. I planted a second batch, this time indoors, but the transplants were leggy. Refusing to give up, I came up with a barrier, heretofore known as the screen saver, and planted one last time. They took!  Within 90 days we had a beautiful row of six-foot sunflowers.

Last year the flowers went completely to seed on the plant. I saved a handful of seeds, then placed the flower heads along the garden wall for the squirrels. It was fun watching them nibble away.  I love watching those cute little “hands” busy at work. They polished off the sunflower seeds in a matter of days.

This year the squirrels took matters into their own hands. Not known for their manners, they simply bent (or broke) the stems till they reached the deck and helped themselves.

I’m always amazed at their ingenuity. Wild bird centers are full of gadgets to deter squirrels from bird feeders, but those clever squirrels figure it out. When it involves nuts or seeds, squirrels are up for the challenge.

I finally caught two of them in the flower-bending act this week. Did I shoo them away?  Of course not! I grabbed the camera instead.

squirrel eating sunflower seeds

Mmmm…not half bad.

squirrel eating sunflowers

Hey!  I want some too.

squirrel standing tall

This buffet line is taller than I remember it last year.

squirrel hide and seek

Shhhh! Pretend I’m not here.

squirrel with stem

Let me just…break off…this annoying stem.

squirrel with sunflower

That’s more like it!

running squirrel

I’m out of here. I’ll be back once you’ve cleaned up this mess.

California tree squirrels are either Gray or Fox. Here is a side by side comparison.

18 thoughts on “Squirrels: They’re back!

  1. You are lucky they are only eating your flowers. When they had finished everything in my yard including bird seed, they went after the lawn swings and cushions. I found fiberfill for blocks after they were done with their nesting season. They actually carried off my best rag mop and a canvas laundry bag. It was a big one too. Those cute little creatures never cease to amaze me. 🙂

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    • Kelly over at Boomdeeada had a similar (and comical) story as well. The squirrels took apart a pink door mat, which she later found made into a nest in her attic. They aren’t shy. They assume everything is fair game.

      We actually have a nest in our orange tree, but it’s garden variety, made with leaves and twigs.

      Here is an idea if you want to try it. We save all of our laundry lint, then put it into the trees in mesh apple or onion bags. Birds or other nesting creatures can come take what they want. It’s super soft and we use organic detergent so it’s safe.

      Thanks for commenting, M.!

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  2. Love the pictures! I’m fascinated with the little critters, and love it when I see others who can appreciate their amazing physical and mental talents instead of treating them as common pests. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great photos. I love squirrels, even if they do tend to be a bit on the naughty side when it comes to manners. We don’t have any squirrels in our garden which is perhaps a good thing since the squirrels here are mainly black squirrels and I’ve been reliably informed that they can become very aggressive!

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    • Thank you, Eleenie! I took all the photos sitting sideways on my kitchen counter, through a window, trying not to fall into my sink!

      We used to see black squirrels occasionally, but not for some time.

      They are naughty and entertaining, all rolled into one.

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    • Our current cats seem oblivious to them. Lindy will watch and twitch a whisker now and again, but she has no interest in pursuit. Beijing is interested in sleep, food and a warm lap. Slinky keeps to her side yard, poor little thing, so I’ve not seen her pursue them either. My now deceased cat Fluffy chased one up our tree once. She got up close and the squirrel simply jumped back over her. She fell from the tree. Thank goodness she was okay, but I think that put an end to her curiosity.

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      • Poor Fluffy, I assume she landed on her feet? That’s one luck squirrel. Our cat Paco used to bring all manner of poor creatures home as offerings. I felt terrible and tried to put on a collar. After the first 3 went missing, I gave up.

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        • Wow! he was a major hunter then. Fluffy was a hunter too, preferring rats and mice. She brought them home dead. Lindy used to bring us rats (alive and unharmed) so we could spend hours chasing them out of the house. She did that at least five times before we had the good sense to close her cat flap at dusk. It hasn’t happened since. I can’t sleep in a house with a live rat running around.

          Some cats just won’t keep a collar.

          Yes, Fluffy landed feet first. She was a bit shaken, but unharmed. Poor thing.

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  4. Live RAT? OMG, I would be running for the door myself. When we were in Maui, I lied down in bed, looked up and saw a Gecko on the roof right over the bed. Poor Jim had to climb up and sweep it out the door before I would get back into bed..Yup, I do not like things scurrying about in the dark!

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