As those of you who follow this blog probably know, a alone squirrel,
has been visiting my rooftop garden
since July 8th 2020
. He/she can be seen in the photo-ops atop this entry where he/she is spending his/her time at one of my bird feeders
that I have to accommodate the needs of various birds
who visit my place.
Recently very young birds (including a lone Northern cardinals
and Blue jays
) have stopped by (albeit when the squirrel isn't there) to enjoy my accommodation, as evidenced in the next set of photo-ops featuring eight images of each of these bird varieties (respectively).
A lone, young Northern cardinal...
Young Blue jays...
These birds don't appreciate sharing peanuts with the squirrel and I've only recently learned that squirrels should not be eating peanuts! According to a web-page
which I referenced in last Thursday's 8-27-2020
) blog post (re wildlife eating popcorn), "...one of the things that you should avoid giving squirrels are peanuts. Squirrels love nuts but peanuts are not actually a nut. Peanuts are actually legumes. Peanuts contain aflatoxin, this fungal toxin results in damage to the squirrels liver, the toxin has the same effect on birds as well. The raw peanuts also contain a trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin allows the body to absorb protein. In addition, peanuts have a pretty low nutrient content."
I am sickened to think that I might be causing my visiting squirrel harm by having peanuts in a feeder in my garden, even though they have been put there for the birds who visit me.
I reached out to wildlife rehabber, Amanda Remsberg
(AR) to ask her what she thought about my discovery re squirrels eating peanuts and the following is a copy of our correspondence:
ME: I just read,"One of the things that you should avoid giving squirrels are peanuts. Squirrels love nuts but peanuts are not actually a nut. Peanuts are actually legumes. Peanuts contain aflatoxin, this fungal toxin results in damage to the squirrels liver, the toxin has the same effect on birds as well. The raw peanuts also contain a trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin allows the body to absorb protein. In addition, peanuts have a pretty low nutrient content." And I'm unnerved by this because many bird types and a lone squirrel do eat peanuts from my feeder (as you know from pictures I have posted over the years). I've never heard that birds or squirrels should not have peanuts. What are your thoughts on this? https://crittercleanout.com/do-squirrels-eat-popcorn/"
AR: Yep, I have heard this, and like everything else, all things are ok in moderation.
ME: Wow. As for "everything in moderation," how do you explain that to a squirrel? What about birds and peanuts? As for water I do make sure I have it for them and I replenish it often as I told you once before.
But even though I joked in my reply, I am now very concerned about the squirrels's fate should he/she continue to eat peanuts upon visiting my place, yet I still want to put them out if I have them to offer, a an array of avian creatures have enjoyed dining on them in my place over the years (and in all seasons) as evidenced in the next sequence of photographs (which have been included in prior entries here on Blogger).
I also leave peanuts in my ring style feeder during noon-winter months and the birds truly seem to be glad for this, as you might surmise from the next set of photographs.
My plan going forward to best accommodate the squirrel who has been visiting me since July as well as the all the bird types who have come throughout the tears is to put out ears of corn for the squirrel.
I thought of this because as I mentioned in my July 31 2020 blog post
(which includes some of the photo-ops seen in this entry), Henry David Thoreau
, was evidently known for leaving out ears of unripened sweet corn for these creatures during the winter.
I've never left out unripened corn in the winter (or any time for that matter) but during winter months but I'm giving it a try and have placed a ear of corn that I got at the Greenmarket
to see if my squirrel is interested. A few photographs of the squirrel checking out my cob are featured directly below...
I'm still not ready to go forward with offering corn as I need to do some more research to see if a squirrel's health is compromised by eating this food. Thoreau didn't seem to think so, or he certainly would not have offered it to them.
Therefore, I'll research this matter and ask you, dear reader, and ask you to stay tuned, but not before reminding you that all the bird types seen here are included in my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak
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