Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nuts About Squirrels--European Squirrel Fight

Celebrities have sharpened their pencils to "scribble a squirrel" in aid of a Welsh conservation project.
Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones, Neil Kinnock and guitarist Phil Campbell from rock band Motorhead are among those who have contributed signed drawings.
The event, organised by Anglesey's Red Squirrel project, hopes to further raise the public's awareness of the fight to save the species.
All the sketches and doodles will be auctioned on the internet in May.
Sportsmen, celebrities, TV stars and politicians have contributed autographed sketches of red squirrels to the 'scribble a squirrel' event.
Funds raised at the May auction will go a range of red squirrel conservation projects in Wales.
'Public awareness'
Becky Moss, co-ordinator of the Friends of the Anglesey Red Squirrels said she hoped the event would raise public awareness.
"Public support for red squirrels is fantastic, and through the scribble a squirrel campaign we hope that the red squirrel plight is further highlighted," she added.

Wildlife expert Iolo Williams did this drawing
Red squirrel expert Dr Craig Shuttleworth of Menter Môn said the Anglesey project was having some success.
He added: "Through our efforts, red squirrels are now a common sight in Pentraeth forest and they have been successfully reintroduced into Newborough forest."
This year the group are reintroducing red squirrels into the coastal woodlands bordering the Menai Strait, with the hope they will eventually colonise the whole of the island.
"There are currently fewer than 100 grey squirrels remaining on Anglesey and once these animals are removed we can firmly establish the island as a national red squirrel sanctuary," Dr Shuttleworth added.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Nothing in Life Is Guaranteed

Nothing in Life Is Guaranteed Except Squirrels Eating Birdseed
Squirrels are very talented members of the animal kingdom. If you’ve ever watched them, you’ve noticed they always try to keep something between them and you—and usually it’s your birdfeeder. Through the process of evolution, they have developed one of the most amazing eating stances in the world of nature.Squirrels sit at birdfeeders with their feet dug into the launch position and their bodies facing down range. They chew birdseed at a speed that cannot be accurately recorded and at the same time are able to keep one eye totally dedicated to watching the windows of the house.It doesn’t bother a squirrel one bit as long as he can see you, but once you go out of sight this little furball shifts into second gear. This is the anticipation stance.The leg muscles tense and adrenaline pumps through the whole body. When it hits the brain, the ears stiffen straight up. By the time you hit the front steps at a full gallop, that squirrel power-shifts into third.His tail curls into a tuck, blood’s pumping to peak launch-pressure levels, and nerve endings quiver from battling with the brain over the decision to stay and eat one more seed or launch now, lunch later. When you finally break around the corner of the house, the brain gives in to the nerves, and the squirrel jumps all the way to the neighbor’s feeder.It is totally amazing. Do not let these squirrels cause you mental stress. You may want to start a support group with other neighbors so you can let your frustrations out and discuss freely the feelings you are experiencing.There are hundreds of squirrel-preventative formulas and contraptions, most of which I’ve found are incredibly useless. Some squirrels are so defiant that they eat in a combat-readiness stance.You can forget window knocking and broom chasing as possible solutions. You will only end up with sore knuckles and cramps. There are two types of equipment used to combat squirrels— manned and unmanned. The drawback with manned squirrel equipment is that it is very labor-intensive. For instance, you can drive your squirrels away with a remote-controlled, battery-operated dune buggy. You control it from the kitchen. Just back it into the bushes and when a squirrel heads for the birdfeeder, you peel out. Chase him all the way to the neighbor’s yard, then back it into the bushes and wait.Another option is a baby monitor. The nice thing about a baby monitor is that a squirrel can’t talk back to you. It is a one-way listening device. You put the sound unit on the birdfeeder and watch from the house. When that little furball climbs up and starts eating—be patient. Let him relax a bit. When he first perches himself up on the feeder, he is real nervous. His jaws move very rapidly and so do his eyes. You should be able to see when he starts to relax. His chewing slows and his tail lowers to half-mast. That’s when you turn on the monitor and yell at him. He should go off like the Challenger spacecraft and hit the ground running. It’s not very nice, but you will have this warm glow about you.