Sep 25-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: September: Sep 25-07
Stuck!    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Donna MacIntosh
Balancing act    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Roberts
Sphynx Moth    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Donna MacIntosh

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 08:38 am:

You either love 'em or you hate 'em, but no matter how you feel, you have to admit they're quite clever at finding ways to get the birdseed. Donna MacIntosh thought she had a pretty good bird feeder that seemed to be "squirrel proof", until a little houdini with a bushy tail figured it out. Actually, he looks a little distressed and worried about how he's going to get out of the fix he got himself into!

The squirrel in the second photo from Paul Roberts was out in search of some grub too and thought maybe he could find a few goodies in Paul's car. It's a good thing he had his windows up this day or Paul might have had a little surprise when he hopped in his car!

Speaking of searching for food, our third photo, again from Donna MacIntosh, is a critter that was drinking nectar from everything in sight, including a try from Donna's blue rain jacket. This is what's known as a Sphinx Moth (sometimes spelled Sphynx) or Hummingbird Moth. They resemble the bird, both in actions and sound, plus they're pretty unique looking and fun to watch flitting about.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 08:45 am:

Darn squirrels! Thinking they're entitled to the bird food! LOL

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:07 am:

Love today's pictures! The first one made me laugh out loud, at that little guy caught in such a predicament of his own making! Crazy little squirrels, for the second one. Who did the inset, Mary, or Paul Roberts? Whichever, it is very cool. Was it in Photoshop or another program? And, the third one is beautiful. I have never seen a Sphinx Moth before; very pretty and interesting critter.

Thank you, Mary, Donna McIntosh, and Paul Roberts for bringing us today's insights into Michigan nature!

Mary says: You are quite welcome answer your questions:
Mary did the inset.
She used Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0 (only because she's more familiar with performing this type of task with that program.) :->

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:21 am:

I battle with the squirells every day. They have ruined the tops of my garbage cans. I have tried every thing to keep them out of the cans. Since Precious can't empty the cat litter the job has fallen on to me. I have noticed that when I put the litter in the garbage cans the little rascals don't go in to the cans. Have I found a new deterent to my problem? Lets hope so. Jimmie the fat white cat likes having his litter pan cleaned more then I was doing it. Makes all of us in the house happy.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:33 am:

Between the squirrels and the darn raccoons, they totally ruin our bird feeders. We tried to trap the raccoons, but what did we get? You guessed it...SKUNKS!!! Try to get THEM out of the trap without the smell. Darn critters.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:33 am:

They are cute when not being destructive, I had a bird feeder destroyed almost instantly. Gave up after that.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:43 am:

I just discovered the "hummingbird" moth this summer. Never even heard of them. They seem to show up at the petunias at sunset. They act like the bird but don't have the same silhouette around the tail in the light of dusk. Interesting critter.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:49 am:

Having two Scottish Terriers patroling our yard, we have no squirrels, or rabbits, or moles, or any rodents.

By F.F. (Flipflop) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:51 am:

Those pesky squirrel critters are just a huge nuisance. They have chewed off pencil sized branches and smaller and stripped out a few of my 15' arborvitie shrubs down to the trunks to build their nests in them over the past few years. And they just keep multiplying. Now it seems black squirrels have appeared on the scene from nowhere and are running around everywhere. Might have to take drastic actions cause nothing else seems to work.

By Liz B (Lizidaho) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 10:39 am:

Stepped outdoors early a.m. in the first frost to inspect my apple tree. They set well and are good eating after that first chill. Well, those university squirrels have been having a field day chewing into the ones I've been careful about. My arm reached up to get a nice red one for the morning oats only to discover a few hunks had already be removed....dang pests!

By Finlander, Painesdale (Finlander) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 11:52 am:

Stock up on the .22 ammo, got to keep up on the herd control on these critters or they will overrun you before long. Couple of boys with BB guns can keep things under control also. Have you noticed the birds eating bugs right outside the windows lately? Kind of interesting to watch them, although sometimes they misjudge a little and hit the pane. Someone told me they eat the big wasps that comes out when the sun is beating on the side of the house.

By George L. (Yooperinct) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 11:59 am:

I squirrel-proofed my 3 feeders (black oil sunflower, regular birdseed, and suet all next to each other) by running a vinyl-coated cable from one tree to another about 7 ft off the ground. Trees are about 25-30 ft apart. Take some 2-liter plastic soda bottles (smaller ones work too, it's best if you stagger them sm/lg/sm/lg) and punch or drill a hole in the center of the bottoms so that the cable fits thru and the bottles will spin easily on the cable. You should have at least 6 to 8 of the bottles on the cable at the tree(s) end. They should be adjoining (touching each other end to end).String your bird feeder so it's in the center of the cable so that the squirrels have to try to run across the string of bottles, which will rotate rapidly when the squirrel's weight is on them, to get to the feeder.
Lately I've taken a few old CDs and placed them between some of the bottles - gives the little gray buggers something they have to hop over.
If you build it correctly, and be sure to string it so it's tight, you will have endless entertainment until the squirrels get wise that they're not getting a free meal any more at the birds' expense. Mine's been up for years and only the yearling squirrels attempt the "bottle tightrope act". Sure it looks a bit odd (mine's in my back yard near the woods so I don't care about the appearance). Would love to hear from you folks who try this!

By Donald Kilpela (Commodore) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 12:35 pm:

That moth thrives on Petunias. They come to our dock every year in September to feast on Betty's flower boxes full of petunias. Relatively rare in the U.P., evidently they are becoming more abundant.

The moth society has now indicated the Keweenaw and Copper Harbor as a breeding place.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 01:09 pm:

The birds aren't doing much of anything to the wasps around here unfortuately. I have found that a badminton raquet takes care of them pretty well though. Not much distance on the serve, but you rack up points in a hurry!!
Mr. Deb

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 01:57 pm:

Hmmm, birds eating wasps!! Sounds like something you'd see on "Ripley's 'BEE'live it or not"....

By Jacobsville (Barb) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 03:40 pm:

Capt. Paul ... G r o a n

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 03:55 pm:

cute are they not lots of them here in fla. i feed them nuts and believe it or not they keep coming back i remain walter

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 04:19 pm:

Deb. Try attaching a rope to your live trap so that you can pull it from a distance of 10'or so, then when you get the trap to where you want it you can open the door with a stick. You can also throw a old blanket or some thing over the live trap and Pepe La' Pue. You can pick the trap up by it's handle and take him to where you want to release him also. A .22 will work pretty good also!

By Lowell La Fave (Lowell) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 05:01 pm:

I have seen two different sizes of the Hummingbird Moth here in Missouri. One is about the size of a small Hummingbird and the other is about half that size, They both have different colors.

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 06:03 pm:

George L.- sounds like a good idea, it would be fun to watch.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 09:35 pm:

Paul, I've always heard that if you shoot the skunk, he'll still release the odor. Not true???

By Steve Haagen (Radsrh) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 12:22 am:

Deb it is true just ask my brother ;)The best part of the story is the one brother that took care of the problem was leaving and the other brother was just arriving for a weeks stay.

By Frank Picotte (Frankp) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 02:14 am:

Squirrels can ber quite a problem in my almond orchard. They can strip a tre of all of it's nuts in afew short days. One cannot eleminate them but try to control them. Many of the products from University Cal. at Davis, pluss thlocal AG dept have been helpful. Good luck.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 02:46 am:

A word of advice to remember when handling trapped or shot predators! -- we've had a Mange outbreak around here the past couple of years. It can be, or happen anywhere! Racoons, Skunks, Foxes, Coyotes, Squirrels, Rabbits and domestic dogs are the usual affected. It is highly contagious! ! Check diligently before handling these species, wear disposable gloves. Although humans can't get a full blown case of it, the mites will bite you much like a flea or mosquito will and you can easily transmit the mites to your dogs! (Cats don't usually get this)
A year ago or so our dogs cornered a real mangy Fox that had been regularly raiding our chicken coop. Before I could stop them they killed it and sure enough caught the Mange! After much over the counter meds and $100s Vet fees and meds (Ivermectin) we got it eradicated! It is very hard to get rid of and a very serious infestation! You cannot be too careful! Mange infested animals are almost always rundown, weak, stressed, immune compromised, and desperately hungry! Mangy squirrels will raid your feeders and leave anything or anyone suseptible to the infestation, by just handling the feeders! In any event clean them thoroughly and regularly! Below freezing temps though will kill the mites but not when on the animals as they are warm! Diseased Squirrels must be eliminated by trapping or killing!
I reported our local outbreak around here to the DNR and haven't as yet heard from them. Don't know what they could or would do anyhow!

Russ Emmons, St. Clair county

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 07:16 am:

There are a lot more serious reasons to wear gloves than mange, which can be cured, albeit it takes some doing. In Michigan, rabies cases are up like 300% this year. Most of them are in bats, skunks are the second most likely to get rabies, then squirrels, etc. I think the huge increase in rabies is caused by the increase in the numbers of bats, and that is seen in numerous states, from here to Texas to the west coast.

In fact, the state lab in Michigan that tests for rabies had to put on a second shift because they have so many additional rabies tests to do this season!

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 10:49 pm:

I've heard there is a increase in rabies but never realized any where near 300% ! !

It is said the reason for increase in mange in the wild is due to the increase of Coyotes taking the food of Foxes, Coons etc. These then get malnourished and suseptible to mange and other things. Active infested cases then pass the mites on to the local rabbits, squirrels etc.and so on and so on. Add to this and maybe more the cause is pollution, loss of habitat from development, thus loss of natural food. The critters get pushed and isolated into smaller and smaller areas with less and less food and become malnourished.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 11:01 pm:

Another reason may be the decreased demand for fur. Trappers and hunters used to be the norm for population control of fox, coons and skunks. (Though I don't think skunks were always a target animal) Now, the automobile and disease are probably the most effective.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 11:28 pm:

There is certainly an increase in the population of coyotes, to the point that they are putting small animals and small children at risk in suburban areas around the country, including, but not limited to Chicago, Austin, etc. One was caught near Detroit not long ago. And then, there was the one that visited the Subway and jumped in the cooler, if I remember correctly, in downtown Chicago. Coyotes seem to be overrunning places because whatever is higher up on the food chain, can not seem to keep them in check, for some reason. Anyway, this is becoming a severe problem all over. People can't leave out dog food on their porches, or anything anymore. They have to watch their small children with eagle eyes, to be sure they aren't being attacked by coyotes. You would think we were back in the days of Little House on the Prairie! I would have thought that people would have scared them away, but instead, they seem to be attracting them? I don't know about the relative populations of coons and foxes.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Thursday, September 27, 2007 - 12:50 am:

Fox #s are severly declining in many areas. Around here is one. Coyotes have been in downtown Detroit! They follow the Railroad Tracks as their corrider into the cities, join up with stray wild dog packs!
We've had Coyotes come right into our backyard, and we have chickens, ducks, geese to worry about!
Our son-in-law found a Coyote along the road near here recently hit by a car, and covered with mange!

I don't think there is a shortage of coons anywhere!

The Cougars that are supposed to be around could change things!

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