a mouse’s eye view

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…

white footed mouse in wood duck box-

This is either a Deer Mouse or a White-footed Mouse — they are difficult to tell apart.  I guess the mouse couldn’t decide whether to take a chance on staying where it could see me or hopping down where I might step on it.  

white footed mouse in wood duck box

The other half of the mouse, still in the box. The wire mesh in the box is there to help the Wood Duck nestlings get up to the edge of the hole before they fledge.  

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!

white footed mouse in wood duck box

There was so much reflection coming from the mouse’s eye, I took a closer look — and sure enough you can see me standing in the bottom center of his eye, right beside the nest box.

It’s not often you get to see the mouse’s view of the world.

4 thoughts on “a mouse’s eye view

    • Jim, I just opened the box and shot quickly before the mouse took a leap out the hole. What was so lucky about these photos was that I found the mouse in the box, then had to hike home to get my camera, then rode my bike back to save a little time, and the mouse was still there.

  1. I love the pictures. The mice are so tiny. I have cats, so occasionally find mouse carcasses. I had no idea they were in my yard. Could be because I am inside in the dark. I do rescue them when I can.

    • Thanks for writing, Joan. I suspect there are LOTS of mice out and about in your backyard. This has been a particularly good year for another type of mouse — the meadow vole — which I find has been digging tunnels all over my yard.

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