Resorting to feeder-birding this frigid morning, I was watching the usual suspects at my house (Chickadee, Jay, Junco, Goldfinch, Carolina Wren....) when a resident mole came out. It was to be expected, coming from a nearby stonewall where I’m sure it has quite a network of tunnels and nests. But what took me by surprise was the red squirrel that charged from under the deck, tackled the mole and wrestled with it for a moment, doing a sort of mammalian “Eskimo roll” and then sprinted back under the cover of the deck. A quick look through the binoculars indicated the mole was a goner. Within a minute, the squirrel was back. It tossed the mole a couple of times and then hauled it back under the deck. In the past, I’ve seen a Merlin wrestle a Blue Jay (a fairly even-looking match with the falcon eventually triumphant), Barreds in the yards reducing rodentia populations, a Sharpie chase passerines around a serviceberry bush, the remnants of Shrike strikes, and an intimidating, lurking Goshawk that has even led me to seek shelter. This is the first mammal vs mammal episode.
Stay warm, keep the feeders full and......