I should call the labrador, in the photo, a squirrel dog instead of a retriever. While eyeballing the squirrels, Molly makes a great subject since she remains virtually in one spot as she displays an array of expressions.
Molly has MANY squirrels to watch. To say that these critters or varmints, err, I mean rodents, are abundant, is an understatement. Just how many squirrels are in one section of our neighborhood? Well, my neighbor Mr. P. has trapped a mere 20 or so squirrels in about two days. He traps and then takes them to the other side of the lake or down to the river where there are plenty of tress. Last year he trapped about 200 squirrels.
The problem with so many squirrels is that they will rob a pecan tree of every last pecan within a very short time. The hungry little rodents don’t even wait for the pecans to ripen on the tree in our yard. I don’t bother spraying the tree in late winter or early spring for sticky shuck disease for there is simply no point to spend money in a futile attempt to reap a tiny bounty of pecans besides putting more harmful chemicals in the environment.
So I trust Mr P. to control the squirrel population. But lest you think he is depleting the neighborhood of these adorable little varmints, I mean rodents, he doesn’t make much of a dent. Come spring and summer, every tree in our yard has at least two to three squirrel nests situated high in the big live oaks and elms. I can readily tell you that the squirrels in our yard and those in Mr. P’s yard have an abundant food supply. Beginning in the summer there are about 8 fig trees that provide supplemental food. In addition there are plenty of oaks that supply acorns each fall.
I stopped putting bird seed out mostly to deter the squirrels from coming and nesting in our yard. Actually, I know better than to think that I could control the squirrels by merely ceasing to feed the birds. But hey, I gave it a try anyway. And then, one day I saw a Red Shouldered hawk and to my dismay, learned the hawk had a mate and the happy couple had set up shop and were nesting in our area. They weren’t just catching the squirrels but also were picking off the white wing doves and other song birds. I saw no logical reason to make it easier for the hawks to have a virtual feeding station just outside our windows. I saw the hawks lurking in the trees off and on during August and September. I did my best to scare then away by blowing up paper sacks that I popped. That was enough to scare then away for the rest of the day and then they were back the next day. Trying to keep the hawks at bay lasted about a week. So, I let my hawk vigil fall by the wayside. Simply put it was stupid and required too much time and energy.