Local wildlife…

In North America, a common wild animal is the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Technically a “rodent”, the Grey Squirrel is considered either a beloved neighbor or an unwelcome rat. I fall into the first group; when I had my own garden I enjoyed watching them dine on spilled birdseed laying under the feeder. CLICK on the image for more information. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Love the thick, furry tail. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

It’s beginning to look like Halloween time…

A friendly ghost greets visitors while walking through Lincoln Park’s Zoo in Chicago. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Pumpkins carved prior to Halloween (October 31st) tend to whither and rot which adds to the creepiness of the carvings. Warmer afternoons aid in the process. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

This guy has a full main of straw hair, rare for pumpkin heads. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Trio of freaky faces. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Youthful awkwardness…

Young Robin with some remaining new-born downy feathers. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Young Robin with some remaining new-born downy feathers. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Late in May, this young Robin appeared on one of the first-flight days for this young Robin. We startled him/her when we lunched on our patio next to their nest in our evergreen shrub. Six weeks later the Robin no longer visits the nest but has discovered the joy in bathing.

Young Robin socializing with neighboring Sparrow. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Young Robin socializing with neighboring Sparrow. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Young Robin with still some new-born downy feathers. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Young Robin’s ruffled wet feathers after bathing in our garden’s birdbath. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Not playing…

One of three opossums, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

One of three opossums warning me to stay away, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Alert opossum under bird feeder, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Alert opossum under bird feeder, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Opossum among the fallen sunflower seeds, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Opossum among the fallen sunflower seeds, copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Strange looking, unique in North America, harmless, mistaken as a rodent, its name often used to describe playing dead.

Unless you are visiting a zoo, this is the only marsupial you can see in North America. Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is a common visitor, along with raccoon, to the neighborhood garbage cans. We may have more than an ordinary number of visitors due to our adjacent forest preserve. Late in the afternoon, three young ones were enjoying the spilled sunflower seeds under our birdfeeder. Note to self: Read birdseed labels more careful when purchasing. I thought I bought a bag of mixed seeds but ended up with a bag of sunflower seeds. Until our next order arrives, the sparrows have to do more work in order to get nourishment. In the meantime, the spillage from the feeder is great; much seed is on the ground for other wildlife nourishment.

Fattening up for winter is routine for many Midwestern animals. Sunflowers, with a high fat content, are an appropriate food for this purpose. Most birds need a more balanced diet including sunflowers as only part of their food intake.

For more information the opossum, check out this site: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=opossum