Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why Male Robins are so butch!

This belligerent and rather butch looking male robin is giving us the eye through our lounge window. It is a threatening stare from a dominant male who is very sure of its territory. Male robins may hold the same territory throughout their lives, and will even attack a bundle of red feathers or their own reflection if they mistake it for another individual. It will sing to defend its territory.

The male in its territory seeks a favourable lookout post. It will not tolerate another robin nearby.

They like human company because we provide food and nesting sites for them. They regard us as waiters always providing food for them.

Their cheeky attitudes have endeared robin redbreasts to the British public, and in 1960 they were crowned the UK's national bird. The male and female are similar in colouration.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Red Squirrel Fat Fest

Autumn is the time when all red squirrels deliberately put on weight. It is as if they are suddenly given permission to grow as fat as they can, as fast as they can!

Sunday 28th October saw the red squirrels at Underscar eating as much as they could from our patio feeders. They weren't deterred by heavy rain all day and returned for seconds, thirds and even fourth helpings to put on fat reserves for the winter. They put on about 12% of their body weight in autumn fat.

The squirrels did a lot of weighing and shaking the hazelnuts in their paws before choosing one. They certainly can tell a good nut from a rotten one. If the nut rattles, the kernel is likely to be small and shrivelled, and not worth eating.

Good luck Underscar squirrels in remembering in the winter where all your stored caches of nuts are.