The Safe Haven Tree.

We all agree that 2020 is like no other year, unless, of course, you were around for the 1918 influenza pandemic, but let’s not go there.

It is nine months since “lockdown” and “social distancing” suddenly infiltrated our vocabulary and in mid-March, the words “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” kicked election news headlines to the curb.

Everyone needs a safe haven.

Due to COVID-19, family quality time sure took on a new meaning in 2020. Suddenly, whole families hunkered down and huddled together after many workplaces closed, schools were shuttered and schedules got scrambled. Patience wore thin as COVID jail prevailed and it was not quite warm enough to head outdoors for some much-needed space alone. Men and women were lucky if they already had a man cave or she shed in place, thus giving them a respite from the family. Sadly, domestic woes and volatile relationships in the confines of the home, day after day, led some to leave and seek a safe haven. And here we are again – round two, with surging stats and Winter weather on the horizon. Sigh.

Our little critters need a safe haven to shelter as well.

I do “get” the predator-prey cycle of life and that every critter must eat to survive, but yes, ol’ bleeding heart me has difficulty grasping that concept.

Though I feel a tug at my heartstrings every time I walk out the door with no furry or feathered friends to beg for peanuts here at the house, I’ve not written about the demise of my merry band of squirrels and Blue Jays and Cardinals which I fed for three years … that is until the Cooper’s Hawk decided that, one by one, each would become his meal and they disappeared. I didn’t see any of the six (two gray squirrels, two black squirrels and two Fox squirrels) though I put out peanuts – evidently, the birds were enjoying them. Then the birds also didn’t show up – the peanuts were still there later in the day. So, after a few weeks, I sent a message to my neighbor to ask if he’d seen Grady the gray squirrel and his mate/buddy, both which begged incessantly and I was told “didn’t you know there was a Cooper’s Hawk eyeing them from the big tree across the street?” That simple statement about their demise just cut me like a knife. “No, I didn’t know that” was my answer and I instantly felt sick. They livened up my mornings on those bleak and gray Winter days and I filled my blog with pictures and stories of them and their antics. How I wish I knew as I’d have stopped feeding them to encourage them to go away, maybe to a safer neighborhood.

This Summer when the Cooper’s Hawks begin to circle overhead at Council Point Park, I vowed it would not happen again. What could I do – I’m not there 24/7/365. Then I saw a hawk go after a black squirrel twice … I chased it away one time, just before the final swoop and the second time, another squirrel sounded the panic alarm, thus thwarting the attack.

Obviously I can’t count noses every time I go to this Park to ensure each of my furry pals is present and accounted for, but I decided back in October, I had to find a way to protect them from this enemy as best I could.

So, I created a safe haven for them.

There are many trees at Council Point Park and, as you know, approximately 60 of them are memorial trees, with special plaques placed at the base in a loved one’s memory. When I first started walking here, I tried to get a tree for my mom, but I was told they no longer were doing memorial trees.

I’ve passed this Weeping Mulberry tree for years and even referred to it as “Cousin Itt” from the Addams Family TV show. My neighbor has the same tree, though it has routinely been pruned – this one has not been pruned and its branches almost graze the ground. Unlike a Weeping Willow with soft and bendable branches, this tree has hard branches, a quality not lost on me, since in the Summer months the tree looks a little wild – a mess of leaves and maybe even a place that youngsters would use to play hide-and-seek.

I decided the dense foliage and hard branches would be perfect to shelter the squirrels, if only I could train them to go under the tree to eat their peanuts, away from the Cooper’s Hawks who would not readily want to go crashing into the hard, drooping branches and risk injuring themselves just to make a meal of my furry friends.

In the past I’ve herded the squirrels and birds to the picnic table for the Winter when storms were brewing or freezing rain and snow were on the way. I would leave extra food for them. Seed bells, trays of sunflower seeds, suet cakes and lots of peanuts lured them under the pavilion, away from predators and the food stayed dry. But, this year, the picnic tables were removed in early October instead of remaining in place all year around.

So what the HECK did Linda do for her furry pals?

I Googled all over looking to find some information about the person on this memorial stone, Stella M. Heck, but found nothing.

Since I sought a refuge for the squirrels, I decided to dump abundant peanuts under this tree. Could I train my furry friends to stay put while eating, then scamper back to their trees or nests without being preyed upon?

For the most part, yes – I did.

The Weeping Mulberry is featured up top and, in October, this is how it looked when the leaves began turning gold.

Usually, the squirrels see me toting the bag of peanuts and are on high alert and either come rushing over to dance around my feet like Parker, or simply hang back, but study my every move to see where the peanuts are going and to anticipate if I will stay and be in their way. They are savvy and likewise the Blue Jays similarly plan how they will snatch a peanut.

I made a point of waiting until a few squirrels had gathered, then after a load of peanuts were strewn beneath the Safe Haven Tree, I stepped aside to watch. I finally had to leave to get ready for work and the cache of nuts went untouched – that was the first time. I tried again – no luck, but the third time was the charm as the expression goes.

Puff was the first of the furry bunch to figure it out. In short order, a few times he was waiting under this canopy of leaves and descended the tree to see what I’d left.

It was all good, then the remaining leaves dropped and blew away after several windstorms in November. So, did I have to go back to the drawing board and find a Plan “B” or could the Safe Haven Tree still work as a feeding frenzy shelter for my furry pals?

Well, without leaves you see how badly the tree needs a good pruning and admittedly, there are a few gaps.

But, those branches that nearly sweep the ground DO offer some protection.

Now that the leaves are gone, it’s easier to read Stella Heck’s memorial marker.

Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve studied the situation and rarely do the squirrels stay on the ground – instead, they zoom up the tree and eat the peanut there, then return to the ground for another peanut. Occasionally, they head off to bury one … I can’t control that. I refuse to think about them crossing the large expanse of grass in the middle of the walking loop, clearly exposed to the Cooper’s Hawk.

Here are a few of my furry friends noshing nuts.

Of course the display of nuts is not lost on the Jays …

… and I’ve had a few cardinals swooping down, but no pictures of them yet.

Lastly, the Red-Bellied woodpecker is “all in” for goodies as well.

Buoyed that I had achieved the desired outcome, I decided to take this feeding concept to the next step and bought a small suet feeder and a wooden platform feeder to hang on the tree branch for when snow covers the ground. I hung the small blue suet feeder last Sunday and filled it with some cashews and dried fruit, but knew I would not make it back for a few days due to the impending snowstorm. I secured the feeder to a branch with a chain used for hanging feeders and clipped it to the feeder. When I returned to the Park after the snow and ice had cleared, the chain had been removed and the suet feeder was on the ground away from the tree. The critters didn’t unhook the chain, so I’m not bringing the second feeder. For now, we have a Plan “B” – when the flurries fly in earnest and snow settles in, we’ll put Plan “C” into place – likely me stomping down the snow around under the tree and laying the peanuts there. Stay tuned!

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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89 Responses to The Safe Haven Tree.

  1. That is brilliant to use the tree for protection. It’s a shame the bird feeder was thrown to the ground.

    She shed!!!! Love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      So far, so good Anne. The squirrels and birds caught on pretty quickly since food was involved; I had hoped they would bury some peanuts there, but I haven’t seen that happen yet. They like gathering on top of the tree too, especially the birds. Marge’s tree supports a sparrow extended family or two and I have a picture somewhere in my blog of her Weeping Mulberry tree embedded with sparrows and snow on the tree. Sometimes when it is really cold, I hear them twittering away when I am shoveling. I was sorry to see what happened with the feeder – I kept it there, but under the tree – at least some peanuts can stay dry. Speaking of dry … we have an entire week of clear, dry weather – next weekend is rainy and some snow. Hope you got lots of walking in with your family while they were here.

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      • We walked almost every day, but it was sprinkling this morning. I went back to bed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I don’t blame you – it was very cold here yesterday and today and snow flurries coming home from the Park this morning, but that’s fine – better than a heavy snow or rain.

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      • We have a dusting of snow right now. Driving may be dangerous in the morning.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hope you don’t have to go out – that’s the worst kind, the “greasy snow”. It is bitter cold here, going to 20 – that’s nothing in the Winter, but the coldest temps we’ve had so far.

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      • The Johns are going to an appointment in the morning, and we usually go to the supermarket on Tuesday. We’ll postpone the shopping for a day if the roads are slippery.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hope everyone made their appointments and it wasn’t slippery out. We continue to have clear weather … Saturday will be an all-day rain for us, then snow (they say anyway). I have not been in Reader since Thursday night. I hate being that far behind.

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      • I’ve caught up in Reader and have almost finished reading email messages from the last two weeks. If I were working like you are, I’d never catch up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That was quick considering you had lots of family at your house for two weeks … I despair sometimes that I rarely catch up anymore … that is why I am going to just two posts a week after the new year. I don’t want to take a blog pause, so that’s the next best solution.

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      • Spacing things out would be a good solution. You always have lots of things to write about. I write only when something happens here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I really intended to do that for November, (go to two posts per week), then I knew I had the harvest decor and some more pretty leaves plus the Thanksgiving Day post, so I stayed with my regular schedule. Now I have holiday-type posts and one for this Friday which was an unusual thing that happened to me recently, but not walk related. I have enough photos for many posts at 2X per week plus there will be snowy excursions to Council Point Park in the Winter. And, in the back of my mind is if COVID gets worse and we go to lockdown and can’t get out at all. You have things happening all the time there!

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      • I can’t think they’d lock us in our homes, at least not out here in the country. You are surrounded by many people. Stay safe!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that does make sense. Living in the country has several advantages doesn’t it? I was sad to see we have passed 10,000 deaths in Michigan. Thank you Anne. I am only venturing out of the house to walk at the Park now until the entire holiday season is over … and then a good month after that.

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      • It’s amazing that you can isolate yourself with seeming ease.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael says:

    Great work, I proclaim you ‘The Squirrel Whisperer’!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra J says:

    What a wonderful place to feed the critters, that tree is just perfect for them to hide under. They all know you so I figured they would find where you are putting their treats. Great idea Linda, I am the same way, I know the circle of life has a meaning. But I hate to see one animal get another, even though that is what is suppose to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Sandra – I am hoping it helps to give them a secure place to go to eat peanuts – I don’t think the hawk will swoop down to attack, even in the spot that has a gap. When the picnic tables were under the pavilion roof, a hawk would not really swoop under there and if he tried, the squirrels could run under the picnic table to get away. I am disturbed by the circle of life concept and tonight before I got here, I was looking at some of Jocelyn Anderson’s Twitter posts – a red hawk had gotten a gray squirrel and had it in its talons … I was sorry I saw it and closed out of Twitter.

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  4. Awww, I remember your Grady stories. We get the occasional hawk or a fox. Both will take one of my well fed squirrels but I have a tree hedge in the back so they have a lot of place to hide. I can tell when a hawk is out because there isn’t a bird in sight. Someone put out a danger call.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I feel badly about all six, but him especially since he never begged in the Summer, just in the Fall and through the Winter months. And because I don’t have pets, I have kind of adopted these squirrels at the Park, just like the ones at the house. I am always scanning the skies and often wait after putting out a load of peanuts until some have been taken and try to put them near bushes for them to hide if danger arrives. But I did that at home too, but they dragged them out into the driveway to eat. It is amazing how they sound the warning cry … the squirrels sound like a cat sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that picture of the red-bellied woodpecker — I’ve never seen one on a tree before, only on my old suet feeder. That’s a great idea to feed the squirrels under the protective branches of the tree. I hope they continue to make good use of their new safe haven. 💙 Looking forward to winter squirrel pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Barbara – I was going past the second or third time around and looked over while I had the camera; there he was on the tree looking down to “make his move”. I got some more photos of him I’m going to use in a post of just him soon and one where he landed on the asphalt path near me. It is a male – the female does not have the red cap, just the red at the nape of the neck. I hope to get some snow pics for you to see. The ones from last year they were cute as they were running through the snow to get peanuts and had snow on their snouts. Hopefully they stay put in their safe haven!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joni says:

    Linda, your tree gives new meaning to “shelter in place”! Kudos to you for trying to protect your furry friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni – I never thought of using that expression too! This was the concept I told you about a month ago when you suggested trying to put peanuts under the park bench … that works if they are watching. Squirrels don’t see well ahead of them as their eyes are at each side of their head, so they have poor eyesight with better peripheral vision.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I figured the park bench hadn’t worked out. I didn’t know that about their side vision being better, but I’m sure they see you coming from any angle!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        It works if they see me putting it there but they have to be watching, or at least one watching and the others follow. I have been using an area the treecutters cleared and they left some stumps and a log … been leaving food there too and I have a small “following” on that side and it is tucked into more dense area, so hawks aren’t going to go there … the hawks perch on the electrical tower and when the squirrels go across the grassy areas, they swoop down. They have good eyesight for me and the peanut bag!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………………..I actually always thought of having a memorial tree for Steven at Council Point Park………………..I mentioned that I just saw a woodpecker on a light pole on Goddard Rd…………………………..I was surprised………………………….we have 2 hawks in a wooded area near our apartments……………………I think it was him who got a lone duck in our pond last week……………….”Plan C” sounds good Miss Mother Nature Advocate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I don’t know why they stopped Ann Marie – there is plenty of room for more trees. I asked when I started walking there in 2013. Marge wanted a memorial tree for her grandson who died in 2014 and she was told no more trees, yet when fellow walker Mike died, they were going to plant a tree, but he was a coach/teacher and helped clean up the Park. That was before COVID-19 so I don’t know if that will happen when things are normal again. I used to see a woodpecker on some type of utility pole many mornings when I walked down Pagel. I figured one day I would walk that way and the pole would be split in two as he was happily drilling away at it. 🙂 You are probably right about the hawks getting the lone duck. Very sad – hawks are very large and a large wingspan – they move very quickly. Your duck or my squirrels don’t have a chance. Glad you like the idea Ann Marie!

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  8. Laurie says:

    How appropriate that I am reading this post on Safe Haven day (for the election). That’s so sad about the Cooper’s Hawks and your squirrel and bird pals. I didn’t know that a Cooper’s hawk would go after squirrels. I thought they mostly fed on birds. I like your safe haven idea. My friends and I used to sit under a tree like that when we were kids and wanted to disappear! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Laurie – the following day I saw “Safe Haven Day” on Twitter and I thought the same thing. I was going to post it last week but I was behind on here and knew it would take a while to put the post together. Yes, the Cooper’s Hawks do chase after squirrels and I’ve seen it happen three times already – all misses. But she feed on birds too. Just today, there were feathers at the Park along the trail – not the first time I’ve seen that and no carnage whatsoever (thankfully) but long feathers in a certain area, most likely a struggle. I feel sick when I see it. I mentioned to you before that I follow Jocelyn Anderson on Twitter – she is a bird photographer. The day I posted this “Safe Haven Tree” post, she showed a picture of a Red-tailed Hawk who had a gray squirrel in its talons and the tail was dangling down. Made me feel a little sick and sad. That’s the first time she’s ever posted a picture like that – a second picture showed the hawk with the squirrel at its feet. Mercifully there was no gore in either photo, but I was sorry I saw it nonetheless. The Red-Tailed Hawk did not look all that large, but the gray squirrels are smaller. I follow our City’s neighborhood forum and people have posted pictures of Cooper’s Hawks juveniles learning how to hunt from sitting on a high perch like a phone pole. That is for small birds and voles, according to what people said. No pictures of the prey, just the hawks studying the ground.

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  9. very insightful to use Nature to combat Nature Linda! Simplicity is always required for a plan to work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Wayne – it works so far and I have another spot on the other side of the Park which is almost as safe. It’s not as ideal, as it is not a weeping tree with hard branches, but is a stump and a log and I put the peanuts on the stump, so they can hide behind the log which area is near the Creek bank – they are safe as long as they don’t go across the “donut” part of the loop. They are then exposed to the Hawk with nowhere to hide. This morning when I got to the tree, the small feeder was gone … not laying around like before, just gone. They are fine without it, but I would have taken some sunflower seeds to put in there. For sure I’m leaving the platform feeder at home. I hope next year they leave the picnic tables under the pavilion. I assume they removed them due to COVID.

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      • I bet the same person is taking them and not the Parks people. Someone with a grudge! I remember you mentioning meeting a few crack pots who belittled you for feeding the squirrel’s!

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think that now too Wayne, because originally I thought the chain was someone who wanted the metal, though it was a skinny chain, just made to use for securing a bird feeder or suet feeder to a tree. Yes, it was petty to now take the feeder. I highly doubt it is the Park maintenance people – they only come to empty the trash on Mondays and that is all year around. They don’t do any other maintenance there and the owners of the memorial tree would not likely be going there. The person died twenty years ago and the City does not maintain the memorial trees – no mulch, or trimming at all. The person who owns the tree is not maintaining the tree themself. It is as you said and yes, now I wonder if it could be one of those people … I never thought of them. I’m not happy about it, but I didn’t pay $75.00 for the memorial tree, so I took a chance setting stuff out there. I will continue to use underneath the tree though.

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      • yes,maybe it was a relative of the person who believes they own the tree? That’s the problem with selling off the floral display,nobody would be able to touch it and would have a metal plate ruining the sight!

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Wayne – To be honest, I’m not inclined to think that it is even a relative of a relative, because the tree has no one looking after it at all. There are trees where people come to mulch them and decorate them. Yesterday I noticed the tree that is decorated each Christmas with glass ornaments – this tree is decorated every year for “Butch” and I’ve written about him and the tree. This Safe Haven Tree has not been pruned or shaped, etc. I’m sure since it was planted. Marge has the same tree, but pruned and shaped, it looks totally different. I could be wrong … I’m thinking if someone associated with the tree didn’t want me there, they’d have left a note right on the feeder. Just thinking that way … I’m inclined to believe, someone helped themselves to it. I’m going to go ahead with the photos I took for a couple of posts showing the feeder, but won’t bring anything but peanuts going forward.

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      • put a remote camera up to see who it is and whats going on?
        Whoever it is I can guarantee that you’ve seen them. They are a regular who doesn’t like you feeding the squirrels and birds.
        Sounds like a Trump supporter

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, you are likely right with everything you say. I’d be afraid a remote camera would get swiped as well. I don’t know why they waited a week to take the feeder after the chain went missing.

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      • they do not go to the Park very often?

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        That is probably it. I put it up on a Sunday, it was down when I got there last Friday (it snowed and I waited until the snow/ice was gone to return to the Park). Then the dish was on the ground and I filled it when I tossed peanuts under the tree, then it was missing Wednesday morning when I got there.

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      • I’d be setting up a hidden camera to catch the jerk who is doing this!

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Today I sorted through photos I took the last two weekends for upcoming posts … in one post, photos will show the dish when it was up in the tree, chained to the branch and the other post will show the dish filled with walnuts on the ground where it was thrown when the chain was removed and I retrieved it and put it under the tree. It makes me both mad and sad at the same time. My earliest idea was to get a small shelf and a metal perforated pizza pan and attach it to the shelf. Good thing I did not invest my money and time into that effort – this was bad enough. Now I have a wooden platform feeder and two pair of tree bird feeder hooks that can go back to the store in the Spring.

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      • Wouldn’t it be better If you returned them asap?
        Obviously someone doesn’t like people feeding the birds and I bet It’s someone who has stepped in Goose crap! I know you met someone like that and I bet it’s her?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I am trying not to go to any stores until Spring due to COVID, (so that’s why I did a lot of shopping in October/early November), but Meijer has a very reasonable return policy. I think I can return for one year with a receipt. That sounds like a good reason too – people don’t like the geese. I step around them after the geese chased me when I brought bread and ran out – they chased me down the path. No more feeding the geese! They make a mess … I keep checking my shoes all the time if I am looking around (which I usually am)!

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      • Amazing that you could last that long! You obviously do not eat anything perishable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I normally buy a lot of pantry and shelf-stable items every Fall, but in a normal Winter, I DO usually stop at the grocery store once a month when I go for my allergy shots and pick up dairy, bread, etc. Grocery store is near the allergist office so I pick up perishables. But this year, not doing that due to COVID. I want to stay away from everywhere … our stats are bad. We passed 10,000 COVID-related deaths this week and that is before the onslaught of deaths from Thanksgiving visits.

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      • Trump’s true Christmas gift to America!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t imagine how I’d handle seeing a squirrel getting attacked by a hawk or any other predator! To know about it is one thing, but to see it happen would be traumatic. It is the natural food chain cycle, but it’s a sad one to see.
    That was a great idea to coax them under the tree for safety! We have an orange fish that bullies her tankmates and I couldn’t handle seeing the other fish attacked. So now she lives in a separate bowl…Ellis calls it her fish jail for bad behaving fish. A few years ago, a friend’s cat was attacked and killed by some animal, I can’t remember now, by her garage. My goodness, it happened right before her eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I am a bleeding heart when it comes to animals and I do “get” the cycle of life, but struggle with that which is so cruel. In fact a bird photographer I follow on Twitter showed a Red-Tailed Hawk that was carrying a squirrel in its talons. The tail was dangling down – nothing gory, but still gave me cause to pause and I was sorry I opened the picture (Twitter doesn’t display the whole picture sometimes and you have to click to display it). Sigh. I don’t blame you for separating that one fish. Bullies – in humans and animals is very sad. We’ve got a lot of people who started getting pit bull terriers in my City – then they don’t want them for pets, just to put outside to guard their harms. Sometimes they escape and go after people walking their dogs. That has happened a few times – the owners must wrestle the pit bull to save their own pet and can’t always do that with success. I can’t imagine how traumatic that attack on your friend’s cat would be.

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      • That picture would’ve turned me off too. My college roommate had a pet snake and she’d buy a mouse every so often to feed it. It’s normal prey/ predator cycle, but I don’t want to see it. At Petsmart, they sell frozen mice for snake owners. eeek!
        Our buly fish is named Sunny; kids named her before they realized her evil ways. I put a snail in her tank but I think it was getting hurt. It mostly lives in water, but it stuck to the higher part of the tank without going down. Sunny should be renamed Gloomy. lol
        OMG, please be careful walking while loose dogs lurk around. That’s awful to be surprised by a pit bull….eeek!!! In TaeKwonDo, kids learned that if a dog looked like it was going to attack, walk back slowly and put both your hands on your neck. Seriously, you hear of people getting very injured from dog attacks.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I couldn’t see that either – and the mouse is devoured whole I think as I’ve seen pictures of snakes with their prey caught in their gullet (for lack of a better word). Same with herons when they swallow fish whole and the fish is thrashing about in their throat. I like nature, but not extreme things like these. I visit the eagle in the enclosure at Lake Erie Metropark. It gets its meal, a white rabbit laid on a stump in the bottom of its cage. That turns my stomach to see that as well. Interesting re: thwarting a dog attack. I am going to remember that – likely the dog goes for the neck first

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  11. ruthsoaper says:

    I think there is a special place in heaven for you Linda for all you do – taking care of these critters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you for saying that Ruth – I really appreciate it. I do take pity on them after what happened to Grady and his little pals in the Spring. I feel sick every time I think of them, plus I’ve witnessed the hawk in action at the Park several times. He goes very quickly with those huge wings. My little furry pals would have no chance of getting away. The picnic tables were great to put food on and the hawk would not have gone underneath as the tables were in the way. I can’t put anything under the pavillion as it is just the cement – easy targets there.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Linda, I talked to a walker at my favorite park this morning. She said that she lives about a mile from there (as the crow flies) and saw a Coopers Hawk attack a wood duck at her place. I didn’t know they’d go for ducks. Made me sad but I suppose everyone has to eat. Luckily you’re putting the peanuts under this protective tree now so hopefully the critters will stay safe! As to the human taking down your feeder I don’t know what to say. It’s not nice!! But could it have been a raccoon? They are quite adept at destroying all kinds of things.

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    • Linda Schaub says:

      Sabine – I would not have thought a Cooper’s Hawk would go after a duck either – ducks are pretty large, though I’ve never seen a Wood Duck, just pictures or videos of them, on your site I believe. That is sad. The Cooper’s Hawks have such a large wingspan – one flew out of a tree last year and swooped down in front of me while I was driving. It startled me and I had to swerve to avoid it. I was not worrying about the hawk as much as it going through my windshield. Something was attacked at the Park. Yesterday I found a mess of feathers, likely a dove. There would have been a struggle I guess or the hawk’s talons ripped the feathers out when it grabbed the bird. I didn’t like seeing that at all. I am hoping the critters stay safe under the tree – yes, there are gaps, but 3/4s of the branches almost sweep the ground and they can zip right up into the tree which is dense with branches. The birds can go there too and feel safe. I hope this works in Winter and it is not far from the entrance of the Park, so I don’t have to walk too far if the path is not cleared. I have another spot across the Park, near a log, on a stump, for the squirrels that nest over there. I am not happy about the feeder situation and am glad I didn’t take the second feeder I bought which was a little larger. I have walked there since 2013 and there was only one raccoon sighting and the DNR was on site capturing it. There are trees along the Creek and throughout the Park, but not woodsy enough for a raccoon to live and forage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Any hungry hawk will go after whatever it can catch I suppose. I’ve seen one take out a flicker once. As to the wood ducks, they are smaller than your standard mallards. At the park with all the waterfowl and the eagles I noticed piles of feathers under the eagles’ favorite trees. 😬 But I do believe that it helps keep nature more balanced, as sad as it is. You are doing everything you can to make it safe for the critters and that’s more than most people ever do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, you are right of course Sabine and I have to think about nature’s balance and try to get past it, but, I don’t like to think of a hawk nabbing a large bird/waterfowl or squirrel … a rodent I’d be fine with. Not a bunny either, though I have not seen any bunnies in ages so I hope they have not met their fat with the hawk. We had another coyote earlier in the year when the Park was closed. I knew I should have not allowed myself to “adopt” the squirrels. I won’t get another pet, but worry about the squirrels now. I think this tree is a good option for them. I’m sorry about the person took the feeder chain and now the feeder … that would have kept the snow away from when I put seeds in the dish, but it was a chance I took putting it there. I didn’t realize the wood ducks were much smaller than a mallard. We have a pair of American Black Ducks that stop at the Park and two weeks ago one looked sick and weak and it died the day after I saw it. Not attacked, mauled (thankfully) that I can tell, but still laying there – no turkey vulture has seen it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you Linda, it’s no fun knowing that hawks are always ready to strike. I had never heard of black ducks so I googled them. Beautiful!! I love the brilliant blue wing patch. You are lucky to have them!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s right – I have not seen any in a couple of weeks, so I am happy about that Sabine, but maybe they hunt later in the morning. On weekends I am there longer. They are beautiful ducks and I’d never heard of them before Arnie pointed them out to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well we can only hope the hawk found a different venue to eat at! And thanks for mentioning the black ducks, Linda. I love them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I hope so too Sabine – fingers crossed. And this morning I saw two different ducks which I have to research what they were. Bigger than mallards, identical, light brown plumage with speckles. I don’t know if it was a duck in “eclipse phase” and they had not gotten their permanent plumage in yet. I looked around at some duck I.D. sites – it looked like a Mottled Duck or a Gadwall Duck. I hope I see it again and have my camera – I didn’t take it as it was going to snow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully those ducks show up next time you have your camera with you! I’m curious to hear what kind they were.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I hope so too Sabine. Here they were clustered around me – it would have made a great picture! I hated I had no camera with me and I assure you that I may carry it every day and that will never happen again. They climbed up the bank and over to see what I had. I have never seen ducks that color – they were large like Pekin ducks, not short and stubby like Mallards.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing that’s worse than not having a camera is forgetting to replace the memory card! It’s happened to me twice now but luckily there wasn’t anything that I encountered that my cellphone camera couldn’t handle. The ducks will be there for the time being so that you can take some photos I imagine. There’s probably someone feeding them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, you can and have captured excellent photos on your cellphone. I like that fish eye lens you use in the forest. Before trying to get all the photos sorted out, I weeded out old photos on the laptop over Thanksgiving, I had to leave the memory card in the holder as I picked my way through everything. I had so many photos, I didn’t want to copy them onto the laptop, so had a note to myself to remember to put it back into the camera again. I was there yesterday and the guy was fishing, but I didn’t see any corn, nor ducks. There was just a light layer of ice on the water. Maybe tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. That was a brilliant idea and even with the leaves gone it has to be better than no cover at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Diane – I wanted to do something to keep them safe. If the City would have left the picnic tables under the pavilion roof, I could have put food there like I’ve been doing for the past few years. The squirrels and birds know to go there and the hawk(s) won’t fly under the roof. So this was my Plan “B”. Parts of that tree are pretty dense with hard branches. It needs a good pruning … still not as big of a job as you have keeping up with the wisteria!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Your tree may protect them from any bird of prey Linda but won’t they be open for attack trying to get to the tree and trying to get away from it?

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    • Linda Schaub says:

      Wayne – I think (and hope) they could stay under/inside the branches of this tree. It has a lot of branches and the squirrels actually go up the trunk, then into the tree sometimes to eat their peanuts, rather than eating them on the ground. The tree is shaped like an umbrella. They could have the option to sit on the top of the actual tree – the birds do that, but the squirrels don’t, they stay under the tree, nestled in the branches. The tree is taller than me, maybe nine feet tall? I don’t think the hawk would be able to land under the tree “canopy” because its wide wing span would not permit it to get through and the branches are hard and the hawk would get hurt crashing through them. I worry though if the squirrels scurry away to bury peanuts. There are lots of trees that line the perimeter path that the squirrels could scramble up if they see a hawk, but once they cross the grass (“the donut hole of the walking loop”) to get to the other side of the walking loop, they are exposed and have nowhere to hide. Do they look up? Squirrels have good peripheral vision and are able to see on top of them (that’s what I have read) but they can’t see as well what is in front of them. I have to point our peanuts sometimes if they are by themselves and I lay them down and no other squirrels sees me. I hope they eat their fill then be mindful before running across the loop, but I am thinking like a human I guess.

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      • Well….you can only do so much Linda. It is a perfect spot and probably the only spot around? Anymore of those trees about in other Parks?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes – on the other side of the Park I have segregated an area near a log and a tree stump – feed them the peanuts on the tree stump and they can hide by/behind the log to eat their peanuts. I stay with them for a while to ensure they saw me put them there. The gray and black squirrels congregate there. I’ve not seen any Weeping Mulberry trees in other parks; that is the only one there so I wonder if they asked for that species. The other trees are mostly Maples or Honey Locusts.

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      • you are
        “Domina Sciuri”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Now you stumped me – I Googled … if I go to Wikipedia, they’ll say I used “Wiki” for the 7th time this month so pay up! I was just on YouTube because a fellow blogger, a Canadian elementary teacher, writes about Trivia Night that she/her co-teacher go to every Tuesday. I try to see how much I get right. It is not all Canadian trivia, some is pop culture. I did not know the symbol on the Canadian dime. She said she got it as there is a song for kids to teach them the symbols and why they are on the penny, nickel, dime and quarter. So I listened to the song (Michael Mitchell “Canada in my Pocket”). See how smart I am from blogging. 🙂 Then I heard this song … I don’t think they had it when I was living there … mentions Vancouver Island a few times. https://youtu.be/WSjMuKh1Wpo

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Aha – I just converted Latin to English – yes, I am smiling. Also known as “The Peanut Lady” on occasion.

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      • it’s suppose to be “Lady Of Squirrels”.
        Those translator bots need oiling!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, the translators are somewhat loose sometimes. I am indeed a “Lady of Squirrels”. I was listening to President Macron welcoming back the U.S. to the Paris Accord after Biden is in, and he said it in French … so all I could understand was “Mes Amis” (my friends) … all that French for nothing!

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      • which just goes to prove that If you were not originally interested in something to begin with, odds are no matter how long your exposed to it, it will flow over you like water on a ducks back!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I actually enjoyed French in grade school – I know we discussed having the 8 1/2 X 11 pictures that matched the roll-down picture (like a map) at the front of the class. Then we moved here – no French until my first year of college, so from 1966 to 1973; forgot everything. I liked my teacher – had her two years, but she taught strictly from the book – if you memorized the “conversations” and vocabulary, you did well. I had French later where we could not speak English in the class – only French and had to write reports, give speeches, review movies. Not useful to me at all as I never used it in traveling either.

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      • I’m half Quebecois but never learned it. My Mother remembers being teased as a child and so didn’t want us to go through that.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Your mom was wise to do that … I was teased and bullied for being Canadian and mocked for my Canadian accent and pronunciations when we moved here (teachers/classmates). My father was from Germany but never taught me any German.

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      • the only people who say “aboot” are Americans trying to mock us. I have never heard anybody say that word and yet it seems to be widely known?
        No matter what we are bullied by someone some how and I’m sorry to say to the kids bullying doesn’t stop when you finish with school. Humans are bullied their entire lives. Bullying only stops in the grave.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I agree with that – people think Canadians all talk with an accent and say “aboot” and mispronounce “dollar” and “sorry” … I don’t hear that, nor have I ever heard a Canadian say “cheesed off” to indicate they are angry about something. I laugh when I hear them talk about Toronto as it pertains to sports … as you know it is “Tronno” not the word they use with all the extra letters. 🙂

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      • Americans only know about America and that is Iffy at best

        Liked by 1 person

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