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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jul 20, 2012

Puzzle solved

I have been coming across some puzzling sights in the past couple of months whenever I was out on bird watch.  There are two that stick out sharply in memory, and were puzzling because there were no clues, until a third sighting, just a few days ago, reminded me and helped  to put two and two together.

First sighting-Two dead insects on the same bush

First, I found these insects in the little forest down the street.  As you can see there is no spiderweb, or spider visible nearby to account for these dead insects.  If a bird were responsible, surely it would have come to collect it's prize almost immediately and I would never have seen them.  
Second sighting-Confused Bee

Next I came across this confused bee at a pond on the south side of the city.  It kept trying to get pollen from a plant that had gone to seed.  I watched it for a few minutes, during which time the bee didn't leave the plant at all. 

Not your typical bee-like behavior.  This bee should have been flying from flower to flower.  Instead it was knocking the seed from a flower stem in a frantic and obsessive manner, as if it had lost it's mind.

Third sighting-Sick Squirrel

Looks as if having difficulty staying upright
Close-up view-no injuries
Then a couple of days ago, my son pointed out that a squirrel was sitting on the fence of my back-yard neighbor.  I have been trying to catch the squirrel on camera for the past couple of years.  He typically races along the fence line out back several times a day and makes quite a racket.

 Here he was unmoving and uncharacteristically quiet.  At first I was delighted to get some nice shots of the squirrel, until I realized that there is no way I should have been able to get so close to  him.   Then I thought maybe he was injured, but I saw no injury, and no blood whatsoever.  He did however have a dusting of white stuff on his head that you can see quite clearly in two of these photos.

The poor little guy still didn't so much as twitch, even when I was less than two feet from him.  He seemed to be totally unaware of his surroundings and a little off balance besides.  When I made to open the gate, and looked down at the gate latch, which was stuck, he finally moved. 

However, he did not go very far.  He was up in the tree you can see directly behind him in the photos.  And he didn't chatter at me angrily or in alarm, once at a safe distance, as squirrels tend to do.  

It finally sank in that his behavior and general condition was like that of some poisoned mice that I have seen, and since he was now out of reach and rescue, I went back inside.  I caught one more glimpse of him through my kitchen window, but I haven't seen the poor creature since.   I am both sad and angry.

You see, I have a new neighbor who has been quite liberally sprinkling, white powdery chemicals and setting poison around both front and back yards, in order to kill ants and mice.   This neighbor had been quick to assure me that the poison was environmentally friendly and safe to use around children and pets.  Yet I have seen none of the ground feeding birds in the tree I share with this neighbor and do not doubt that the squirrel is an unintentional victim of his poisons.  Most likely the bees and fly above are unintentional victims of poisonous chemicals as well.  Because the city maintains both the little forest and the pond, and the city sprays chemicals to kill weeds and mosquitoes, right around the time that I caught sight of these insects, every year, like clockwork.   So here is what I learned from this experience:  There is no such thing as an environmentally friendly and safe poison.  Poison is poison, it either kills or makes a body sick!!!


  1. I agree Susan, Poison is poison and it kills off the beneficial as well as the "pests". It is going to harm humans too. It already is.

  2. I totaly agree. There are alturnatives to poisons, like traps for mice and cinnamon for aunts.Unfortunatly we as a human race have grown a custom to getting everything done fast and as easy as possible. Unfortunatly.