I have a new tenant.

I was sitting here at my computer "winter office" tucked into a corner of my dining area when I thought I caught a movement out my kitchen door window. (My studio-office is too chilly and dark in the winter so I set up here beside my sunny, south windows for the winter. I can also see out the kitchen door window.)

Curious, I went to see if there were someone out there. There was. A gray squirrel. Perched up in the rafters of my porch, he sat there chomping on a walnut. Only about 3 feet from my face, he never hesitated in his nibbling, just looked me in the eye with a “so?” look. Cheeky little creature.

I hadn’t seen any grays since late last fall when I put up a window feeder for my birds. I can’t get over the snow banks and through the snow to the feeders in the flower garden come winter so I thought I’d try putting a feeder on my window just a couple feet from my 'puter. I also hung a suet block beside it. It took two weeks for them to find it but now I enjoy my winter birds up close and personal: chickadees, nuthatches, finches and tufted titmice. The blue jays tried hard for a couple of days but the feeder is designed to keep the bigger birds out and they gave up. I have the woodpeckers on the suet but they can’t get to the seed in the feeder either. Biggest plus, the squirrels can’t either. So that defeated to two biggest seed eaters. Win win. I hadn’t seen a jay or a squirrel in a couple of months.

But I have a chipmunk — he lost his mate last summer — who lives in a structure beside my Quonset hut. So I tuck black sunflower seed in there for him. A few days ago I added — you guessed it — some walnuts.

So Mr. Squirrel sniffed them out and brought them up to what is now, evidently, his new apartment — sheltered from the wind and rain — in the rafters of my porch in a corner with a nook I had once built for a robin.

A couple of years ago, I had a robin who was building a nest on and wrapped around my porch light under the roof and a few inches from my face when I opened the door. Having dry twigs and other material wrapped around the light made me nervous. So I got a board about a foot or so square and mounted it in the eaves on the other side of the porch. I carefully dislodged her half-built nest and moved it over there, thinking she would be less disturbed by the opening door and I would be less disturbed, hopefully, by dirty-birdie poo.

She’d have nothing to do with it. She wanted the sunny side. The next day, while I was away for the several hours, she had totally built a gorgeous new nest back on the light. It was a master of construction. What to do?

I got a wooden bird house kit and restructured it to fit her nest — leaving the front open but the roof intact and mounted it on the wall beside the porch. She loved it. She laid her beautiful blue eggs and I had the joy of watching her babies hatch, grow and fledge.

She didn’t come back last year. But now, I have a new boarder. He has found the sheltered board-nook that the robin refused and made his nest — and stole the chipmunk's walnuts, which he stuffed in a corner. I took photos as he’d finish off a morsel and then go back to his stash and get another one which he would chomp on, perched on the edge, just looking at me with a very satisfied and unperturbed look.

I just hope he doesn’t tell anyone else about his cozy new apartment with a nearby cafe offering free seeds and walnuts.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.