As you can see, I have a squirrel feeder (you can click on the image to expand it) attached to my backyard fence. Now, not many people have anything to do with squirrels. I feel sorry for them. Yes, I do know they are rodents. During the winter months, they do have an exceedingly tough time finding food to eat. Finding food is an around the clock struggle for squirrels. I have used unsalted and salted raw peanuts for food, as well as corn and sunflower seeds. The squirrels seem to have a special affinity for the salted raw peanuts. I've been doing this since about October of last year or when the weather started taking a dip at night. It took until about the middle of December before the squirrels started actively coming to the feeder to partake of the food there for them. They go through that glass jar of peanuts in about a day and a half. That is a one gallon glass jar you see above right. The corn takes about 4 or 5 days to finish off. The squirrels don't eat all of the kernels of corn. They extract what is in the kernel and discard the husk. But, the husk is not left to waste. Birds all over the neighborhood come and eat the corn husks left by the squirrels. So, everything placed in that glass jar is eaten. The sunflower seeds are the last to go. Those seeds seem to be at the bottom of the squirrel diet.
I have taken to naming the squirrels. There is one (in fact he is the one who first came to the feeder) big squirrel I have named "Bobby." He seems to be the dominant squirrel because when he is there, all the other squirrels stay in the trees or on the fence far away. But, there is one little squirrel, one probably smaller than all the rest, who has really gotten my attention. One day last week, I let the glass jar go completely empty. I wanted them to finish off the sunflower seeds. I looked at the jar and noticed the small squirrel (who I have named Joey) staring at the back door. He looked right at me or it seemed that way. Well, I figured Joey wanted some food before Bobby showed up. So, I brought some corn and peanuts to place in the glass jar. Joey ran off to the very back part of the fence. He waited for me to finish. After placing the glass jar back in the retainer, Joey came back within a minute. He indulged himself. After about 15 minutes, something made me look out the back door again. It was Joey right at the back door. He had a leaf in his mouth, dropped it, looked at me and then took off. Long story short, there have been numerous leaves left right at my back door since that day I put food back in the glass jar for Joey. I carefully pick them up and place them in a indoors plant I have.
Is "Joey" showing gratitude to me by leaving those leaves as appreciation? One can only guess. I like to think he is expressing his appreciation to me in the only way he can. That's what I'm going with as I continue to leave Joey and the rest of the gang food over the harsh winter months.