Thursday, 20 July 2017

Red squirrel usurps wood duck nesting box

Snake scope
What a problem! I was about to open one of my 3 wood duck nesting boxes. They open from the side, on a hinge. I heard a sound, then decided the scope was a better idea. Back up to the house to grab my snake scope. I was hoping it was a duck. Although, it is early for them.
The wood duck hatched 12 chickies!
Frog pond update: Wood duck box #2

April 20

Wood duck nesting box
 Sadly, a red squirrel popped out. They can nest anywhere – the wood ducks, not so much. I went back up to the house and did some research.

Red squirrels build large grassy nests, called dreys. This one was a deep, round circular nest nestled into the wood chips I'd put in for the ducks. Wood ducks have a hard time finding nesting sites, since dead trees, of suitable size and location, are few and far between.

Squirrels are aggressive, busy creatures, feeding on buds, new shoots and sap in spring, insects in summer, and seeds and nuts in autumn. We have 5 up at the house, feeding on the bird feeders. Whilst other swear at them, I figure I cannot be choosy about which critters I feed. Either you feed one and all, or you just stop.
This was a Bala, Muskoka, squirrel!

Having done some research,  I found that they keep the baby squirrels in the nest, safe and warm, until about 40 - 44 days. I hadn't see any babies, and so back down to the nest. I was ready to take the nesting material out and began that, as she watched from above. Me bad. There were about 4 little babies. I covered them back up.

The squirrel family (Sciuridae) is part of the rodent order (Rodentia), which makes up nearly 40 percent of all mammals.
I knocked on the box, but she ignored me until I opened the side door. April 20th.
  Red squirrel from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Daisy was helping...
I emptied the nest, only to find the babies deep in the bottom.

You can see the babies deep down in the nesting materials. They are furless!

I put the materials back into the box. Back up to the house for a think.
OK. New plan. I thought we'd move her and her babies to the Saw-whet owl nesting box that nobody seems to like.

A new plan: move them.

April 21

 I climbed the ladder to check it out.  Below is the saw-whet box, which had had visitors! At least one squirrel. Momma yelled at me from a nearby tree, and hasn't returned to the wood duck box. I think it was a good transfer.

May 10th

Lactating squirrel. This is a good sign. I saw a crow worrying something. When I went over the squirrel sniped at me!

July 15th – both wood duck boxes have had dreys! Sigh.


Anvilcloud said...

You win some and lose some, eh?

Nancy J said...

Problem solved, build a whole lot more boxes, but have names on them for each animal!!!

William Kendall said...

Oh well, best to just leave it for next year.

Red said...

I don't like squirrels when they get in my territory.

Denise inVA said...

And you tried so hard. So good of you to at least try. Hope you get your ducks back next year.