A year in the life...

Squirrel outside my window
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 - Squirrel outside my window - Techno-Impressionist Museum - Techno-Impressionism - art - beautiful - photo photography picture - by Tony Karp

Our house has become a veritable bird sanctuary, thanks to the Hobbitt's love of birds, and thanks to my willingness to schlep 20-pound bags of gourmet birdseed from the local bird food boutique. Actually, "birdseed" belies the many exotic ingredients, designed to go beyond the ordinary fare that most put out, and take us to at least a three-star rating in the feathered equivalent of the Le Guide Michelin.

This last year, we added two feeders outside the window of my studio -- one commercial feeder that holds seed and suet or peanuts, and one given to us by a neighbor who hand-paints them. They hang from a double-hook stand at exactly the right location so that I can watch the birds coming and going as I work at my computer.

The blue jays love the peanuts in the shell, somehow figuring out how to open them. They zoom in, grab a peanut, then fly off with their loot. Other birds cluster at the feeders, varying by time of day, and by the season.

Of course there are always a few unwelcome guests. (None, however, as annoying as the pigeons that infested our backyard in NYC.) What we get is squirrels and crows. The crows are quite large, and they like the suet feeder. They travel in groups, having more of a social life than most birds. In some ways, the crows are a welcome sign. In the past, many were killed by the West Nile virus, so seeing them here is reassuring.

The squirrels, with their thieving ways, pay us back with their amusing antics. Yesterday, we watched as a squirrel made a horizontal leap of at least ten feet to reach one of our feeders. They're quite adept at climbing up the poles or down the wires that hold the feeders. And while the crows are chased easily, the squirrels develop a fearless attitude.

This squirrel had climbed up the pole that holds the two feeders outside my window. I watched him for a few minutes, then went over and tapped on the window. Nothing. The squirrel gave me an annoyed look and went back to his feeding. Figuring I should get something in return, I reached for my camera, went to the window, and took this shot.

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