TALES FROM MOLLY'S BACK YARD:
About 8 weeks ago Molly spied "Mr. and Mrs. Bunny" in her back yard munching on the pellets and carrots that Molly provides. Today I saw the issue of this "date" as Molly spotted the presumed mother and one of her progeny coming to the feeding station. Neat and double neat, though it doesn't beat the time that the rabbit made a nest in the middle of the back yard.
Also Molly saw an interesting example of what she presumes is agonistic behavior amongst the squirrels that frequent the two feeding stations that Molly has set up. Basically there was one squirrel in the tree that Molly could observe and another on the ground that she only caught a brief glimpse of. The squirrel in the tree showed little fear of Molly, actually responding to her pathetic attempts at squirrel imitation with interest. Both these individuals were red squirrels. There are also one or two grey squirrels who visit Molly's feeding stations. These spend much more time on the ground than the red squirrels do. Molly has yet to train any of the squirrels to come and take nuts out of her hand though she has had success it getting them to come when called over the years.
Anyways, the squirrel in the tree that I stopped to observe went through a ritual of first stamping his (or her) front feet while at the same time flashing his (or her) tail rapidly back and forth against the tree trunk like a cat may do when marking territory. The tree area is too far up for Molly to climb and see if it is wet. This was alternated with stamping of the front feet without the tail flashing. All this time there was a low level of vocalization. Eventually the squirrel on the ground "fled" to the next yard.
This behavior is quite different than that I have observed in mating times of the squirrels. Molly presumes that it is territorial display behavior, though she may be wrong on this supposition (Molly is best familiar with the behavior of gophers). This seems like something to look up. More on this later.