Saturday, February 4
Flying Creatures in the Coop
And no, I do not mean the chickens.
Last night I trudged out to he coop to check the feed and water. At this time of year, I should be trudging through a few feet of snow, but as of today, we still have grass and lots and lots of mud. Snow has been almost absent this season.
So I trudged through the sticky mud mess that was once my back yard to the coop with a bucket of fresh water and a bowl of kitchen scraps looking to fill the feeders and collect the eggs.
The door to the coop, always closed since the ladies have a trap door entrance and exit, was blocked with something from the inside when I tried to open it. After shuffling things around a bit, I discovered it was the large plastic top to the can we keep the cracked corn in. Something had knocked it off the top of the can and it was wedged between the can and the door.
I figured one or more the chickens had decided to take a mid-day flight and used the can to propel herself back over the coop wall when she was done exploring, knocking the top off in the process.
I went about my feeding and watering and egg collecting, and then I went to make sure the top was on the corn can tightly before I went back to the house. I had found a mouse in there once who, after eating his fill of corn, realized that he could not get back out. I gently used a dustpan to extricate the mouse and send him on his way.
As I am about to place the top on the can and secure the handles, I noticed something cowering in the blue plastic corn scoop cup.
I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was not a chipmunk, mouse or squirrel. I always have a camera with me when I go outside and I got a few pictures before I let him out of the can.
I removed the blue cup and slowly tipped the can to one side as to not bury the little guy in cracked corn. When it was about half way tipped over, he came running up the inside of the can and flew out of the top to the wall of the chicken coop. Literally - he FLEW. I swear I saw wings.
I ran up the wall and disappeared into a crack near the rafters.
Fast forward 10 minutes - I am back in the house with the camera plugged into the computer and the pictures on display. Roy insisted it was a chipmunk and the little man wanted to go outside and pet him. I had to explain that he was gone already and that maybe we would see him again another day.
Turns out, much to Roy's annoyance, that he was not right about it being a chipmunk. It was a flying squirrel. I had never seen one before and I had no idea that they lived around here.
According to FlyingSquirrels.com, it is a Northern Flying Squirrel found here in the upper Atlantic states as well as in the pacific Northwest, the upper parts of Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Southeastern Alaska.
The Flying Squirrels website offers just about everything you ever wanted to know about the little guys including a video and audio gallery, nest box plans, and a cornucopia of interesting facts all devoted to the Flying Squirrel.
So, besides having chickens in my coop, I can now add flying squirrels to the list of other residents, including the mice, birds, normal squirrels, chipmunks and the skunk.