Red squirrels- They always seem to have a hair up their ass; picking fights & bitching everyone out. Are they fiery redheads, or pissed off cos they’re gingers? I dunno. They ain’t biased, either….nope. They fight with other red squirrels. They certainly ain’t winning any congeniality contests. They have some serious issues with territory. EVERYONE must respect the personal space of the red squirrel by staying at least 2-3 feet away. Mark my words, all hell will break loose if you so much as even think of eating a sunflower seed in their vicinity. Loud, brash…to be a red squirrel is to NOT be a pacifist.
Grey squirrels- Comparatively to the other daytime driveway visitors, these adorable fur balls are ‘gentle giant’ relaxed types. When it’s particularly hot out they pull a grab & go. They stuff their cheeks with some food, then retreat to sprawl on their stomachs in the cool shade under the car while they casually munch. I’ve gotta say that they are the hedonists of the pack. Meandering from the trees across the lawn in the morning, like stoners heading to the kitchen for snacks after a session. Languidly laying down while they eat peanut after peanut. They grab them with their mitts, filling their faces. Nothing phases them. I’ve yet to see any one of them even remotely flinch when a crow hops at them. Welcome to chill-town.
Blue jays- They are a titch too quick for me to get really clear pictures of. They jump, hop, swing, fly, drop, swerve in the blink of an eye to get peanuts (blue jay crack). You know how absolutely stunning they are…I mean, just look at them. Wow. Their language is so impressive. Jaying their heads off…& doing really good impersonations of hawks. Precocious little jokesters. Since a family lives in the birch trees in front of my house, I was/am able to watch the kiddos play & learn to do blue jay shit. A lot goes into being a blue jay…including displaying symptoms of narcissism. Yeah, I hate to point fingers, but hands down, the self absorbed bird award goes to them. They’re azure & onyx feathered narcissists. I know, I know…pathology shouldn’t be a avian thang…but, when it comes to blue jays, it’s all about them. Exhibit A: The small flock of mourning doves will be quietly munching on tiny seeds in the driveway… Enter a single blue jay maniac who will swoop from out of the trees, barrel through the air & drop like goddamn Batman down in the center of the doves. Thus single handedly (wingedly) scaring the bejesus outta the flock so that they all fly away like their life depends on it. After the fluttering whistle of frantic dove wings flapping fades as they all flee to the safety of the tree line, there in the driveway stands the blue jay, head held high with an almost ‘wtf’ look of innocence. They ain’t fooling anybody.
Crows- They have lived in the tallest hemlocks & birch trees surrounding my house since we moved here many years ago. In fact, 2 years ago, lightning struck the tallest hemlock across the yard. It’s still alive, wearing the scars of the bolts pathway down its trunk to the ground like a badass bark tattoo. The crows play in that tree. They perch up top, keeping their eyes peeled for any threats and/or food. They watch me from high up in the mornings when I stock the driveway with grub. When I head back inside, they quickly (& loudly) spread the word. Another corvid, like Jays, their language is incredible. I have yet to witness any fighting or aggression within their family. They only time that I’ve seen them pseudo aggressive was when a chipmunk got too close to a crow baby. The adult crow flapped their wings and hopped at the chipmunk. Was more of a ‘fuck off’ action than a display of real aggression. While I personally don’t know what kind of threat a wee chipmunk is, I ain’t a crow. Maybe they got their reasons. I’ve had the pleasure of watching crow babies screaming into the faces of the adults, with their open pink mouths, begging for food. They live 40+ years. Awesomeness. Did ya know the children stay with the parents for 5 years? Well, now ya do. Highly intelligent & social, epic familial bonds here, man. I’m mad for them.
Brown headed cowbird- These too cute for words little shits are brood parasitic. Yeah, I was blown away too. The parents lay their eggs in the nests of any one of 200+ other bird species, so that the other birds raise their babies. Totally reminds me of my parents…also brood parasitic. TMI? Ahahah…moving forward. The baby cowbirds sometimes even kick the real babies out of their nest, killing them, so that they will have all the food. Rotten to their little brown headed core? Nah. One specific cowbird that visits, always visits with the doves. I suppose considering how physically close they eat together, maybe that particular cowbird was snuck in a dove nest? Fascinating, really.
Chipmunks- One word? Industriousness. From driveway to workshop, like sable cannons launched, they shoot back & forth at a rapid clip. Safe wager that there is a seriously impressive stock pile hidden. Deep beneath the workshop, across the driveway, lays a huge chipmunk food cache. I’m sure, by now, that baby rivals the Bank of England’s gold vault. The myopic chipmunk is oblivious to anyone while gathering food to shove in its face. Handful after handful, these little furry hoovers pick up every last bit. Is there a high prevalence of OCD in the chipmunk community? I dunno. They’re certainly food obsessed. Not even a screeching, threatening red squirrel can stop a chipmunk. Like Jake & Elwood Blues…the chipmunks are on a mission…to get their food storage back together. When I was snapping pics, one chipmunk ran inches in front of me, not even noticing the hairless pink human laying on the ground…or, maybe they just didn’t care? All work and no play, dear chipmunks…
Mourning Doves- Gorgeousness & gorgeousity. Y’all know I live with pigeons, so doves are right up my alley. In all bird fairness tho, this crew is a real scaredy pants lot. A leaf blowing across the lawn? Whoosh! Whistle! Bye, bye doves. For being such wussies, there is a lot of aggressive behavior within the dove flock. They remind me of BB & Puss…all the wing slapping, the chasing, the ‘peck’ threatening. There seems to be a constant assessment & reaffirming of their hierarchical positions. Of course, being birds, they do communicate with their beaks, so, maybe I got it wrong. I do adore the doves. I love nothing more that to watch them leisurely walk the driveway, preen or eat. Their attentive affections toward their mate is beyond sweet. Like a hunk of solid maple syrup.
While I don’t have a picture of her (yet), a robin has a nest under the eves on the back porch. Her babies have now flown the coop. She is used to me, but if Rommel goes near her nest she reads him the riot act… Defending her home Braveheart Style. Every time I see her, she has a mouthful of bug or worm.