This morning at breakfast I watched a gray squirrel mosey along the garden wall, pick a ripe strawberry and begin to eat. My cat crouched at the window and muttered, but the squirrel knew the cat could not get out. He nonchalantly ate half the strawberry and dropped it on my deck.
Annoying! He ate only half and left the rest to stain the wood.
And what was he doing eating fruit?
It turns out that gray squirrels specialize in nuts but they also eat fruit, insects, bird eggs and nestlings.
That explains the scuffle I saw yesterday when a squirrel ran out of a tree hotly pursued by a pair of robins. The robins meant business and were trying to peck him. I figured they were defending a nest so I tried to help by chasing the squirrel. I have no idea if I made a difference.
It's a difficult time for nesting birds. The nuts aren't ripe yet and the squirrels are hungry. The only mitigating factor is that the red-tailed hawks are hungry too ... for squirrels.
(photo by Chuck Tague)