Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Squirrels Eat Birds


So yesterday I am at my yoga teacher's house - this has nothing to do with cocktails - and she looks out the window and asks me, "Do squirrels eat birds?" My reply was "No..." and then I followed her gaze to her vine-covered pergola, where a squirrel sat perched, eating a bird. I'm serious. He was holding it in his front paws and eating it like an apple or an ear of corn. It was a small bird, maybe a junco or a chickadee. There was no struggle. We stood and watched the squirrel munching for about ten minutes, trying to decide if he was an insane rabid squirrel or a zombie squirrel, but he was just a squirrel. A squirrel eating a bird. "It's not like there's any lack of bird seed in my yard," said my teacher, pointing to the feeders and the seeds scattered in the snow.

Yesterday's lesson was a deep one. Sometimes things don't make sense, or our minds get rocked by new information that we can't integrate and our world paradigm shatters. I don't know where I'm going with this. Trying to find a way to tie it into cocktails here. I don't know if I can. I think I need a drink.

I'll pause for a public service announcement: $1 PBR every Wednesday. Recession Wednesdays, we're calling them. No need to stay home and drink yourself into a stupor alone. Recession does not equal depression, at least not for Felicia-lovers. Come. Sit. Stay. Drink.

Back to the paradigm shift: Things change. Nothing stays the same. Change is a part of life. Maybe it's OK. Maybe it's OK that squirrels eat birds. Maybe.

12 comments:

dotcalm / veronika said...

Crows eat squirrels!
About three weeks ago I saw a crow pecking at something by my "squirrel tree" - I went down to find a dead, not yet frozen, squirrel that the crow had been knawing on. I was so distraught I began screaming at the crows and picked up the poor squirrel and placed him in a bag in the garbage can outsite...
I guess it goes both ways...it's still pretty darn sad.

MHAithaca said...

I can only guess the squirrel is grateful that your yoga teacher spread out all that bait -- er, bird seed -- so as to attract his lunch.

Anonymous said...

Shut up.

frederic said...

We have a great old print of Sir Edward Henry Landseer's dark Victorian engraving entitled, "A piper and a pair of nutcrackers" which addresses this darker side of squirrels. When squirrels get hungry, they will indeed eat birds but more often they'll just go after the eggs and chicks.

Anonymous said...

It is most likely the squirrel was picking stuff off the bird rather than eating it. I have squirrels, I have raised squirrels and I study them in the wild. This is a very rare situation here and there is most likely more to it than meets the eye.

Captain Tiki said...

I think that squirrels are getting birds in my back yard, but I can't catch them at it. My dog is too old to chase them (birds) and I haven't seen a cat on our block in a year. All I find are scattered feathers. Could be lightning I guess!

Anonymous said...

My son and I just saw a squirrel in our backyard eating a bird. I had no idea that squirrels ate birds either and so I googled it and saw this post. The squirrels was not just picking stuff off the bird, he was eating the meat. You learn something new everyday!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were sitting on our deck enjoying a cup of coffee when she spotted a squirrel raiding a Robin's nest and eating the baby birds. We too didn't know that squirrels raided nests so I googled it and was directed here. We enjoyed your tale because you expressed the same thoughts that were going through our minds. As you said, change is a part of life. However, it's good to see how some human emotions haven't. Sad is still sad.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the "change" to which you refer. Perhaps the change in your knowlege of squirrels' eating habits? There's no reason to think that squirrels have changed.

Anonymous said...

Our squirrels are eating starlings, which is ok with me. I don't know if they are killing them, but 2 in the last week.

Veronica Palacios said...

So, I was sitting in my car today, listening to music and singing at the top of my lungs when I noticed that there were a bunch of birds that were gathering on the roof of my parents house. I then look outside my window to the right and notice more birds down there on the floor and some to the left. At first I thought they were surrounding my car, and I was like...wth? But then, I noticed their point of interest was directed towards a squirrel that was slowly making it's way across the street. I noticed that as the squirrel moved closer and closer to the other side of the street, the birds hopped closer and closer together and closer and closer to the squirrel. It was as if they were setting up some sort of formation, only moving when the squirrel moved. My first thought was that were maybe planning on eating the poor little squirrel, and after seeing that little squirrel being attacked by that other bird a couple weeks ago or so, I was like what the hell? Why are birds being such dicks?? So, I got off the car and ran over the the group of about maybe 30 birds or so that had surrounded the squirrel as it neared a tree and I chased them all off, and the squirrel ran up the tree....later, I researched birds behavior towards squirrels to see if it was normal for them to gather like that in numbers against one squirrel because that can't possibly be enough meat for all those birds and I wasn't aware those types of birds (the small greyish looking ones) even ATE or attacked squirrels. But when I researched, I found a lot of articles about squirrels eating baby birds, but none really about birds attacking squirrels, so I was confused. I reanalyzed the situation and I remembered how the birds were slowly getting closer to the squirrel the closer he got to the tree. And I started to wonder...were those birds protecting a nest up there? I haven't checked yet if there was a nest up there, as it's dark now and it was the neighbor across the street's tree, but I'll check tomorrow because if those birds were trying to protect a baby bird and I went thinking they were being mean to the squirrel and scared them off...well I'd feel like such a jackass, especially if there was a baby bird up there that that squirrel got after I saved his ass. I'd kill that little bastard too if I was a bird and he tried to kill my baby. Maybe birds are tired of their babies getting eaten and are fighting back! YEAH! GO BIRDS! If I find a nest up there tomorrow, I am never going to get mad at a bird for attacking a squirrel again.

niterythm said...

I was amazed yesterday when I looked out my window and low and behold there was a squirrel on our porch railing eating a chickadee...I freaked out big time. My husband said it is okay, I was like now way and looked it up...guess I am not the only one, so I found this:

"What do squirrels eat?
Being rodents, squirrels eat a wide variety of mostly vegetarian foods -- but some add a few insects or small animals as well. Here is a general list of what squirrels eat -- but each species has its favorite menu.

In their natural habitats tree squirrels eat a variety of foods including fungi, insects, bird eggs and young birds, pine nuts, and acorns, plus a wide variety of other seeds, nuts, dried corn, fruits, twigs, buds, bark, leaves, pine cones, roots, and mushrooms. And on occasion -- almonds, English and black walnuts, oranges, avocados, apples, apricots, and a variety of other plants. During ground foraging they may feed on strawberries, tomatoes, corn, and other crops. And don't forget dog food, table scraps and whatever else smells good!"

All I can say is yuck!