Saturday, April 21

After Nine Months, Our First Back Yard Squirrels!

After 3/4 of a year, we have finally seen squirrels in our Florida back yard. I have wonder why we have not seen any until now and why we did finally see them in mid-April. After nearly a year of wondering where all the furry-tailed tree rats might be, three of them were hanging out in the trees and on the payset. In fact. one walked right past the patio door and looked in at us. So why now?

One of our theories is food. We don't have any nut trees on our block. Our last block in Kansas, with more squirrels than people, had all kinds of nut trees. But squirrels can probably eat other stuff, too, like bird seed. And even if there isn't a lot of food, there'd be enough for a few scrawny squirrels, right?

Another theory is competition. There are more and bigger birds here than in other places we've lived. Whereas squirrels might be able to bully small songbirds for seed, it might be more difficult in Florida to push around large waterfowl (we live on a pond).

It could be predators. I've seen hawks and a bald eagle in the yard, and there are cats all over the place. Some dogs, too. Very few fences or leashes for the "pets." Maybe snakes eat squirrels, too. I don't really know. I assume the predators are the reason for no bunny rabbits, too, so this might be the biggest factor. Forget about chipmunks.

I was never a huge fan of squirrels or rabbits, but you do kind of miss the familiar mammals. And I probably prefer them to the little lizards and large cats everywhere.