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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jan 26, 2013

Squirrel vs Magpies

Between work, family moving in and the cold weather, there hasn't been much opportunity to visit natural places this week, not until this morning that is.  When I left early this morning, I packed a bag of sunflowers seeds into my pocket for those birds that do not consume fruit, because our winters tend to be harsh and I like to leave some for the birds just in case they need the extra. 

So when I arrived in the forest, I scattered some of the seed on the ground, and as I continued on, scattered some more on tree stumps, under the bushes and on top of fallen logs.  I took some photos of woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees along the way.  I watched the waxwings as they flew in small flocks or took off with a small thunder of wings.  The morning was bright and beautiful, and thankfully not as cold as it has been.


Female Downy woodpecker

I have a habit of following a trail more than once, and I always return the way I came. So I was taking photos of some sunlit leaves back at the beginning of a trail, when I heard a ruckus behind me. Naturally I went closer to investigate, and was startled to see a squirrel engaged in battle with two magpies. 

Sunlit leaf
The last kind of behavior I expected to see was fighting between species, especially over food, yet they were clearly fighting over the sunflower seeds I had left on a brightly painted tree stump that some kind soul had left for decoration.

Two magpies and squirrel
Squirrel on the offensive

The action was fast and furious, and although I didn't get all of it on camera, it went on for quite some time.  There were several attempts by the magpies to get the seed.  They tried to approach the stump from every direction.  The squirrel however is apparently a fast and furious little warrior.

The beginning of attack
Here is the squirrel chasing off the magpies when they attempt to grab some of the seed.

The chase
 However the magpies really want that seed, so...

Race for the prize
They attempted to approach the stump from above, but the squirrel is smart, quick, and determined.  He chases them off but then, one of the birds makes a final sneaky attempt.  He almost makes it to the seed.

Sneaking up on the seed
However, he's too slow..... here comes the squirrel.

Full attack mode
 He chases the magpie off.

watch and guard
 He watches for any renewed effort by the magpies to steal the seed he has so obviously claimed for himself.

Enjoying the spoils of war
Apparently they have given up, so he settles down to enjoy the bounty.

I love learning about the behavior of wildlife, so this was an amazing experience for me.  Has anyone else ever witnessed this kind of behavior between two species?  If so please let me know in the comments:)



1 comment:

  1. A battle between squirrels and Magpies would be fun to see and photograph! This post made me laugh!