Meet Rusty. He is one of four or five “Gray” Squirrels we have visiting our feeders on a regular basis. He’s been coming for at least half the winter. He stands out from the rest by his strangely coloured tail, which looks a bit like a hair-bleaching job gone bad. It makes him easy to track, even when we see him away from the feeders in the yard or across the street.
The second is Blackie. Blackie may actually be two squirrels, I haven’t been able to determine that for certain. He generally keeps to himself when he is here, keeping out of trouble. He’s also the only one to show up alone later in the day (which is what makes me think there may actually be two black individuals). The third is Hi-ho-Silver. I don’t happen to have a photo of Silver, he doesn’t come around too often, although he’s here regularly enough to have garnered a name. (Note I’m referring to them all as “he” but I really don’t know their respective sexes.)
And then there’s Brownie. I think of Brownie as a youngster, the baby of the group. He seems subordinate to the rest, although he is also stubborn and persistent. “No” doesn’t really seem to mean a lot to him. In particular, he has his eye on the platform feeder.
However, the platform feeder is Rusty’s domain. Rusty is definitely the dominant squirrel of the group. He doesn’t take kindly to other squirrels invading his personal space while he is eating (he hates the sound their teeth make, clicking together while they chew). Most of the squirrels respect this, and will eat at the small hanging feeder (which requires some acrobatics to reach, but isn’t that hard) or on the ground under the platform.
But not Brownie. Brownie pushes his luck. I watched him try to climb on to the platform feeder five times in the space of as many minutes, perhaps trying to sneak over a corner while Rusty’s back was turned. Maybe if he was lucky grabbing a mouthful of seeds. Rusty was having none of it. He was more alert than that, and the minute Brownie landed on the platform Rusty was after him.
He’d chase him around the platform and then over the edge, where Brownie would leap to the supporting pole and scurry to the ground, or over to the deck railing and then away, depending on the direction Rusty forced him.
His personal space secured, Rusty gets back to the serious business of enjoying his lunch.