Gone Bananas

While I am not a big fan of bananas this Variegated Squirrel sure was.

The Variegated Squirrel is a medium sized tree squirrel found broadly throughout Central America. A diurnal squirrel that rarely ventures onto the ground foraging and nesting in the trees.

It is funny how seeing a species of animal that is so similar yet so different, in this case a squirrel, from those in our day to day lives can elicit a deep internal wow.

For example, when a red squirrel passes us by in the forest nearby we don’t give a second glance, but we stood and watched this guy as long as we could remarking on the colors of their fur and behavior similar yet different from the squirrels in our forests at home.

Happy Friday and wishing you a wonderful weekend and perhaps a little something different?

Hypnotized

Instead of the usual scolding I almost got hypnotized by this Red Squirrel.

Look into my eyes he said, from now on you will feed the squirrels and not the birds.

It was so close all I could think about was putting a bog of peanuts on the grocery list but he couldn’t help himself and started with his squawking.

Winter Bunn 2021

After a light snow the prior evening bunny tracks lead to a spot under a small spruce tree that was somewhat protected from the light snow that was now falling and much to ur delight we found her. Winter Bunn 2021 is her name on from what we have observed the lone Rocky Mountain Cottontail in our vicinity. Some winters there are many, some winters there are few and this winter she appears to be the only one.

In the short time between seeing her hop into sight the snow flurries intensified into a snow shower and even under the protection of the spruce the flakes began to accumulated on her fur.

In a matter of minutes her face became covered with snow and she seemed to be taking it quite in stride.

Now that her face was coved with s now she said enough is is enough an hopped away through the snow to the a thick stand of junipers that provided better protection.

White-winged Crossbill

A female White-winged Crossbill rests close to their next meal on a fine winters day. Crossbill and their namesake bills are specialized to feed on conifer seeds. Prying open open the cone scales and then extracting the seeds with their tongues a single Crossbill can consume up to 3,000 seeds per day. Crossbill often travel in large flocks and seek out numerous species of conifer seeds just as they are ready to consume.

Crossbill typically are nomadic and wander across the boreal forests in search of food. Large Flocks containing up to 10,000 individuals have been reported to move through an area in a single day.

A wonderful and specialized bird and one in need of study as climate change descends upon the boreal forests they call home.

Reference:

 Benkman, C. W. (2020). White-winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.whwcro.01

Roadside Hawk

The Roadside Hawk is on the most common raptors encountered at the edge of forests and cleared fields ranging from Northern Mexico all the way south to Argentina. There are at least 12 subspecies with most being similar in appearance with a grey head, yellow cere, rufous banding across the breast and striped tail. The Roadside Hawk is opportunistic and hunts insects, reptiles and small mammals. We encountered this individual several years ago on a large palm tree peering out into some cleared pasture.

A intense looking hunter and a good look at the banded tail.

Reference:Bierregaard, R. O., P. F. D. Boesman, and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.roahaw.01