The cute Eastern Gray Squirrel appeared to have nefarious intent.
Woodpecker nestlings are loud, and their high-pitched squeaks are constant. Every squirrel in the neighborhood was no doubt aware they’d taken up residence in the tree.
So, when I spotted the bushy-tailed rodent repeatedly peeking into a Hairy Woodpecker nest cavity, I was pretty sure it was shopping for a meal.
The squirrel peeked into the cavity hole and hopped away. After watching him peek in and back off six or eight times, I began to wonder if I’d misjudged the squirrel’s motive. Surely a nestling snatch is a speedier maneuver!
Was I looking at an amateur predator? Or merely an inquisitive youngster? Youthful inexperience could be the explanation. This episode took place around the time I’d been watching young squirrels make debut explorations away from their own nests.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one paying attention to the squirrel. Watch what happened when the mama woodpecker arrived.
Did you her drumming a second or so before she swooped in? I wonder if that was a warning signal to the squirrel. Or was she reassuring her nestlings that mama was on the way?
I never associated nerves of steel with a small bird like the Hairy Woodpecker. But that mama’s stare-down with the bigger and considerably beefier squirrel says otherwise!