A walk around the pond in the way-back part of the backyard the other day revealed a few stray warblers (they all look alike in the fall to me), a pond full of molting Wood Ducks, a family of green herons obscured by a dense thicket, and a strange little mouse that was resting in a Wood Duck box. Unfortunately, I disturbed his nap by opening the box, and he almost scampered out the hole…
The closely related Deer Mouse and White-footed Mouse species are nocturnal — hence the daytime nap in this unlikely resting place. They have really large eyes (good for seeing at night), a buffy tan color to their fur coat, and long tails. They inhabit forest woodlands as well as meadows and fields throughout much of the U.S., and subsist largely on a diet of seeds, although insects, spiders, and fruit are on the menu as well.
Even though this little mouse is 1/3 the size of a chipmunk, it doesn’t hibernate but stays active all winter, venturing from its nest among rocks or tree crevices each evening to search for something good to eat. It’s amazing that they can withstand the frigid nocturnal temperatures of the Minnesota winters!
It’s not often you get to see the mouse’s view of the world.