Feeding time: not at the zoo but in the back garden of my parents’ house in suburban South Dublin, not far from Belfield. My sister has already ensured that the birds are well provided for over the winter. In the past I have also seen a fox scampering across the lawn and my youngest brother has also observed it. But yesterday (Friday) I got a good view of the latest garden visitor, a grey squirrel.
I notice that Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is involved with a red squirrel conservation project and is asking people to report sightings of both red and grey squirrels, which I have now done. There are two species of squirrel in Ireland, the red squirrel and the grey squirrel. The red squirrel is native but is undergoing a steady decline across the country. This is largely due to competition from the introduced grey squirrel, which came to Ireland from North America in 1911. This pattern has been observed over much of Dublin and red squirrels are now confined to just a few locations. The presence of the grey squirrel is regarded as a continuous threat to their survival.
This particular grey squirrel seems to have become very domesticated to the extent that I was able to take a picture of it as it sat on the steps at the patio doors in our kitchen. We are lucky to have other visitors that keep my mother amused although there are certain dogs or cats she does not like.
But my mother, with her limited sight, is always glad to see birds such as the robins, blackbirds, blue tits and a pair of collared doves who seem to know exactly when to come looking for their food. When any greedy pigeons come swooping down my mother tries to ensure they are chased away….
At this time of year with such bad weather conditions please remember the birds and other wildlife, even in urban areas!