Our suburban yard in Massachusetts has a small woodsy area. We use a section for feeders for birds, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and the occasional bear or fox.
In an area of our patio, at least 20 feet from the closest feeder and that group of large trees, we put food down and stay within a few inches of, and sometimes directly on, the pile. Certain chipmunks, who we recognize by their markings, know where and when to wait for that food, and happily eat at our feet and even on our shoes.
This year, for the first time, a few squirrels have been daring enough to come close and eat. I'm surprised because they're usually quite skittish as they get nearer to the house.
In the first two pictures, I'm standing just behind the leaf at the bottom right corner, and the little squirrel, possibly a young Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, is not more than a foot away. He stood in that sideways position for a few minutes, then turned to face me. He then came closer, right under my feet, to find whatever whole seeds had been left by the chipmunks, and ate for a while. (I didn't take a picture then for fear of scaring him away.)
In the other two pictures, I'm in pretty much the same place, although it's hard to tell. I believe that squirrel is an Eastern Grey, Sciurus carolinensis, which is common here in America, Canada, and also in a variety of countries in the UK. He starts by looking tentatively towards me, then moves to where that food is and puts his head down to eat. I don't know if he chose that pile of food because it was the nearest to him, but I assume so.
I'm wondering what they're seeing in each of their body positions. Can they see me, or the chipmunk, only with both eyes facing me, or do they only need one? Can the grey squirrel with his head down eat and watch me at the same time? Can these positions also allow them to see what's happening around or above them?
I'm also curious if it's seeing the cat, but there's glass in between them, so there might be glare or other factors. The cat's always pouncing against that window and the squirrels and chipmunks never run away, so either they don't see her or they feel safe knowing they're protected by the window. I admit I really just added the cat picture because it's cute!
This is not meant to be a highly scientific question. I'm just curious because I spend so much time watching and interacting with my backyard animals, and their behavior fascinates me!
Click on the pictures for larger view.