For the past eight years, we’ve been entertained by abundant ground squirrels looking for food as we camped on the bluff overlooking South Carlsbad State Beach. California ground squirrels live in burrows that they excavate and spend most of their time within 82 feet of their burrow.
We keep our dog food storage box secure with a bungee cord. The South Carlsbad State Beach brochure states, “SQUIRRELS/WILDLIFE: Do not feed them to avoid disease, overpopulation and property damage.”
Squirrels themselves can become prey to other animals such as hawks, ravens and crows, so they have learned to be vigilant. The one below has a favorite lookout post on the windblown bushes (Melaleuca nesophila) that provided privacy for our campsite. Larry saw a crow fly off with a small squirrel* held in its beak.
This season we saw fewer young squirrels and more crows and this phenomenon seems to be related and was captured by my camera as I took photos of birds soaring by, such as pelicans, seagulls, and crows.
An American crow* glided by and noticed a squirrel just outside its burrow. This crow abruptly changed course and and turned toward the squirrel on the bluff.
The crow dive-bombed the squirrel below.
But each time the crow approached, the squirrel quickly withdrew into its burrow.
This flight dance repeated several times until they both realized that it was a standoff.
So the crow flew off and continued its search for food.
All was calm at sunset on the bluff and I suspect that the squirrel was cozy and sleeping well in its burrow, and perhaps dreaming about the day’s excitement as a slow gypsy dance.*
*This is a YouTube video.