Somebody is killing the squirrels of Hilliard Street and one resident composes a very angry note

Left Bank of the Charles posts a photo of an angry flier posted on a utility pole on the Harvard Square street about how the person who is poisoning squirrels, possibly in an attempt to poison rats and raccoons, should knock it off.

Neighborhoods: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Aside from the questioning of the value of animal life

the blogger here seems not to mind their commenters making statements like this:

We do need to understand white adults are evil. Children are pure of mind and spirit and are much smarter than adults. The oppressed are blameless because they are oppressed, if they are of the proper color and ethnicity.

I'm actually thinking about starting my own blog, but not if I have to deal with this nonsense!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Flying Rats?

By on

That's pigeons.

up
Voting is closed. 0

And the local hawks are ...

Flying cats?

In all seriousness, here's the problem: poisoned squirrels kill the raptors (yes, Cambridge has both Hawks and Owls and the odd Peregrine!) that were extremely successful in controlling an out-of-bounds and very human adapted squirrel population a couple decades back. When the Hawk Family moved onto a window sill at Holyoke Center in Harvard Square, the squirrel problem was under control within a season.

That's why poison is fucking stupid.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Squirrel Control?

By on

They just have population surges and declines associated with resource cycles like acorn availability.

Raptors do not function like winged Pac-men gobbling rodents. They don't eat that much. It is a quaint notion though.

There are also timing issues. Squirrels are most active at dawn and dusk for much of the year while moving to midday in winter. By the time raptors show up, the squirrels are having a siesta.

I did look in vain for data on raptor squirrel consumption but came up with little. Most of the ones I run into retain their wariness, which suggests they haven't been fed by humans.

I'll sometimes find tamer ones in parks that will run up to greet you like you have a treat. They are very smart and have arrived at a level of learning where they are capable of 'play' as Gregory Bateson noted years ago in his learning hierarchy theory papers.

They were here before Euromutts, after all, and are part of the charm of the place. Anthropocentric thinking hasn't exactly done the planet any wonders and the notion of Squirrel Control can probably go in the same box as rain making or getting the incoming tide to cease by voice command from a Danish King.

Squirrels got a music tribute from arranger Tad Dameron inspired by his observation of their routines in Central Park.

https://youtu.be/tDBgEXWD-XY

up
Voting is closed. 0

Ever walk through Harvard Yard or MIT in the 80s or 90s?

The squirrel's activity patterns had NOTHING to do with their "natural" behavior, and everything to do with YOU GONNA EAT THAT?. They were extremely active at mid-day because that's when food was plentiful. We have pictures of one running right up and into my mother's face to get at a peanut.

That wariness developed only after the resurgence of the Hawk population sometime in the mid-1990s. My credit union, then headquartered in Holyoke Center, vacated an office when the hawks moved onto the window ledge because they were so critical - and effective - for rodent control.

That isn't cheap real estate, but it was a very cost effective solution.

More to the point: POISON KILLS RAPTORS. Raptors are an effective means of keeping squirrels skittish and their numbers down. Ergo, people who poison rodents are fools, if not breaking laws.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Other factors maybe?

By on

I walked through both campuses in the 70s and 80s, I wasn't here after 91.

The change in day cycles could be driven by the food abundance, but maybe the grounds crews eventually improved their game at keeping food trash down?

You are welcome to check the wonderful site at Cornell to learn more.

Here's Red Tailed: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-tailed_Hawk/lifehistory

Here's Red Shouldered : http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-shouldered_Hawk/lifehistory

Here's Broadwing: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Broad-winged_Hawk/lifehistory

The main conclusion I found Is that predators at whatever scale seek the easiest prey, like a nice fat rabbit made for swooping in on. Chasing some manic boreal rodent around a tree is just a labor intensive dinner pursuit.

Wild creatures have to be careful about their effort.

While the squirrels may have become more wary, and they do have a language to alert the community to hawks, they are mainly an opportunistic occasional item for raptor forages.

So maybe it was hordes of Markkk's in SUV's that made roadkill of em or those cyclical population crashes kicked in?

I'm trying to photograph them as they are a cool subject and several live nearby. Their activity patterns do by and large run diurnal here, so there must not be enough enough food scrap forage to encourage them.

https://youtu.be/PImYNoVrsl0

up
Voting is closed. 0

Further research has an answer.

By on

As I suspected, squirrels have cyclical population 'eruptions' as do things like snowshoe hare and lemmings

So you know what happened to all those squirrels? They migrated. That's what they do.

Here's a great paper from Clemson.

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/natural_resources/wildlife/publications...

Natural predators of the gray squirrel include rat snakes; red-tailed hawks; red-shouldered, marsh and Cooper’s hawks; great horned owls and barred owls; red and gray foxes; bobcats, weasels, raccoons, house cats and dogs. However, considering that population build-up to the point of migration is fairly common, these natural predators are not really limiting to overall population growth.

So there you have it, a useful explanation for why the squirrels went away. It was an easy and useful search query you could have enjoyed yourself for a true edge.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Just a few years back

By on

Just a few years back the squirrel population peaked, and we were reading stories of squirrel migrations- a number were actually seen swimming across the Charles, with one even clambering aboard a small boat midway for a breather. Of particular note, however, was that the migration was occurring in BOTH directions across the Charles- squirrels in the entire region were feeling crowded. But unless some dramatic change makes an area less hospitable to squirrels, migration will really only come into play to relieve over-crowding to the point that the squirrel-distribution approaches normal. They won't all leave! But surely the mere visible presence of raptors might encourage nesting mothers to move along, leaving them further apart, just as a spate of violent attacks on half a dozen people will tend to alter the behavior of thousands of humans. Raptors make an area less hospitable in a way squirrels can understand- tasty poison, on the otherhand, probably has little influence over squirrels not themselves killed or sickened by it.

up
Voting is closed. 0

????

And how do we know it was poison? Personally, I suspect some young Jem got himself a BB gun after watching To Kill a Mockingbird just down the street in Harvard Square last weekend.

Because it's easy to look at a dead body and see whether or not it was shot?????? Jesus Christ. These Cantabrigians.

up
Voting is closed. 0

It's not serious claim, the

By on

It's not serious claim, the post immediately prior to dead squirrel one was about a screening of To Kill A Mockingbird. I know Cambridge has a rep, but shit... we're allowed sarcasm just the same as everyone else in the damn area.

up
Voting is closed. 0