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Friday, September 20, 2013

I’M A SQUIRREL WATCHER


I’M A SQUIRREL WATCHER

Watching squirrels go by; oh my, my-my*
 
Squirrels; to most people these are despicable rodents with big fluffy tails.  To backyard bird watchers they are a menace.  These crafty acrobats find a way into bird feeders and will not leave until the feed is all gone.  Except for what falls to the ground, the birds get nothing.

My mom was a backyard bird watcher.  She waged a battle with the local squirrels for years.  I learned to just enjoy the show and become a squirrel watcher.

Squirrels can climb the slimmest poles, crawl along any wire, hang from any branch, and avoid any impediment designed to keep them off the feeder. 

I have watched mocking birds and blue jays torture cats by dive bombing them into submission to protect a nest or in the case of mocking birds just for sport.  These birds could not make a squirrel even flinch.  They are acrobats, they are smart, and they are brave. 

They do make mistakes.

Watching these creatures can sometimes be comical.  A squirrel will leap from tree limb to tree limb with incredible dexterity. 

Most of the time. 

I once saw a squirrel which apparently must have passed tree jumping with a low “c” average as it missed its intended limb and tumbled fifteen feet to the ground onto its back.  I thought it was dead, but after about ten seconds this fuzz ball rolled to its belly, slowly stood on its hind legs and looked left and right.

“Fall, I didn’t fall, just a big jump that’s all.  Anyone see that? Nobody?”

The squirrel shook off his cob webs and his embarrassment and climbed back up the tree as if nothing ever happened.  They are tough little buggers.

Several months later, a large limb from a tree in my back yard came down in a storm.  This limb had served as a major squirrel highway from one tree to another for years.  The day after it came down, I watched squirrel after squirrel race up the tree and out on the limb only to screech to a halt when they found the highway had disappeared.  They looked confused and bewildered each time.  Some actually ran down, up and out again just to confirm their arboreal roadway was missing. 

A detour was quickly established.

One winter we had a very long cold snap.  I found a squirrel hanging by one hand on a cable line into the house.  He was exhausted and unable to move along the ice encrusted wire.  I looked for someway to help him down when he just fell ten feet to the hard ground.  He appeared to be frozen and dead.  I had to move him from the yard or my Labrador would experiment with him.  When I shoveled him into a box,  I could tell he was breathing, not dead, but well on his way.  I put him in the lot behind my house and covered him with leaves so a cat or another predator would not find him.

One hour later I went out to check on the squirrel.  He was gone without any sign of “fowl” play.  The little bugger recovered.  They are tough indeed.

We have hawks in our area.  I love watching the hawks.  They need to eat to survive.  Top on the hawks menu is squirrel.  Sometimes I see this battle for survival; the hawk to eat, the squirrel to live another day.  The hawk will stalk and swoop at the squirrel, and the squirrel will scamper around a tree to escape. 

I love watching the hawks.

I always root for the squirrels.

 

*Sorry, could not resist.

15 comments:

  1. I have a cyber pal who rescued a baby squirrel ... her pal made him a harness and they go for walks... squirrel is named Merle.

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  2. i WISH the hawks here would go after the squirrels. they don't even try.

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  3. I enjoy watching squirrels, too. They are entertaining. I used to confused chipmunks with squirrels but now it's easy to tell the difference. One has a small, lame excuse for a tail, and the other has one to be proud of!

    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  4. Couldn't resist:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3Ya6z-NlDo

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  5. They ARE hardy little buggers, aren't they?

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  6. Stupid blogger deleted my comment.
    >:( let's try again

    I have been at war with the squirrels for years, but I finally defeated them with the current bird feeder. (At least I think I have....)

    It's crazy how far they can fall! One time I saw a squirrel fall a good 20 feet from a tree, and it hit the ground with this awful THUD, and then it jumped right up and ran back up the tree. Their skeletons are not made of bone.

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  7. Have you seen videos of those squirrel-proof bird feeders that spin uncontrollably when squirrels climb on them. It's hysterical.

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  8. I spent the summer avoiding chipmunks, squirrels, deer and birds. See like many more than usual, and I attributed it to a new housing development squeezing, squeezing.

    After an entire summer of merciful misses, I came around a sharp bend today, no possibility of swerving or braking. The damn squirrel stopped on the white line and ran straight under my passenger front tire.

    Sorry.

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  9. I love watching squirrels! I think they look like little dogs. But my sister thinks they are creepy. I got the biggest kick out of seeing one of the little fellows dragging off a huge doughnut; it was quite a fiasco.

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  10. And they're so gosh darned cute! Or maybe it's just because we don't have any here that I feel that way.

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  11. I so wish we had squirrels or chipmunks here. I loved them in the US. Also used to love seeing gophers pop their heads out of holes in the ground in the football field at school.

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  12. One time, I looked out on my back deck to find a squirrel perched on my deck railing. Well, perched would be inaccurate because 'he' wasn't sitting there alert and watchful. He was stretched on his belly full-length, sprawled, legs behind him, one arm dangled over the side, chin on the wood. He looked whipped, and I could relate.

    That day, I related best with a squirrel.

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  13. We have gray squirrels and red squirrels around here. Just not in the yard. Too many dogs and cats that want to play with them, I guess.

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  14. I love squirrels. My neighbour and I encountered a wee one the other day. A baby squirrel was running after some young teens who were telling it to "go back!" It was determined to get someone to stop for it. We stopped and it immediately climbed my jeans. I figure it had been hand raised and perhaps set free too early. I picked him up and carried him while he tried to suck on my finger. He was dehydrated. And his tail was completely limp. Luckily I have another neighbour who has raised many an orphan creature and she said she'd look after this one. I know he's in good hands. They're wonderful little creatures.

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  15. I guess Hawks have better preys to catch than to have to deal with Squirrels.

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