23 June 2016
The Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus derives its name from its bi-coloured coat, rufous above and white below, which resembles the coat of a deer.
It is a very common species, although seldom seen due to its nocturnal habits. I was surprised, therefore, when sitting on the patio in the early evening, to see this little creature emerge from under a low evergreen shrub.
Deer Mice show considerable differences in size and body mass and the long-tailed variant seen here is an arboreal species, the tail being prehensile, making the animal well-adapted to life in the trees.
The Deer Mouse is a sociable animal and will take readily to living with humans, becoming an engaging little pet. This individual and I will get along well together as long as it doesn't come into my house, however!
Many a lonely trapper living for months alone while working a trapline in the north has enjoyed the company of a Deer Mouse or two in his cabin; no doubt the mouse derived reciprocal pleasure too.
The birds on the feeders knock down quite a bit of seed as they feed which is no doubt what attracted the mouse.
|American Goldfinch Spinus tristis|
It was a hot, humid day and this American Robin Turdus migratorius seemed to take great pleasure in a vigorous soaking in the bird bath.
A Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula surveyed the scene from on high before coming down to take its turn at the feeder.
Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis are ubiquitous in suburban habitats and this adult was still accompanied by a youngster.
A couple of Song Sparrows Melospiza melodia have been regular visitors to our yard this year and they make sure that they receive their share of the bounty.
This Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata visited the bird bath but only to drink and not to bathe. No doubt this species does bathe, but I can't remember ever having seen it do so.
A pair of Black-capped Chickadees Poecile atricapillus raised a brood in our yard this year and the family still visits from time to time. The feeders provide an easy source of food for parents still occupied with feeding young birds as they transition to full independence.
I have not seen the Deer Mouse since but I hope that it is still around. It is an engaging little creature and very welcome to share our yard.