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Monday, October 27, 2014

A SQUIRREL'S LIFE- a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from October 2012 
Some great pictures of a squirrel over at “run-a-roundranch” reminded me of a story from several years ago when I was still a 7 AM train commuter to NYC.          

My home was about one block from the train station and a 40 minute ride to work.  We lived in the suburbs just off of Main Street in the tiny New Jersey town of Metuchen.  There is not a lot of wild life in this town.  There was a bear in a tree which caused quite a stir one year, but basically the local animals are squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits.

The squirrels seemed to have a pretty good life.  I enjoyed watching them chase each other around a tree, gather acorns, and in general just live the good life.  With their tails wagging and chirping happily, I often was jealous of the happy-go-lucky easy squirrel lifestyle.

One morning, on my way to the train, I stopped to watch two squirrels playing around a large tree trunk in my back yard.  I was not looking forward to another commute and another day of taking crap from a boss who might have been classified as a moron if such classifications existed.

“Not so bad being a squirrel” I thought as I dragged my way through the back yard short cut to the train station.  Then at the moment that thought crossed my brain, a huge hawk swooped silently out of the sky, talons flared, and less than a yard from my head.  He was headed straight for the tree trunk and one of those happy-go-lucky squirrels.

Caught by surprise I raised my arms in alarm and shrieked a loud "WTF!"  My movement threw the hawk off his game and he pulled out of his attack dive missing the squirrel by less than a foot.

The hawk sailed up to a nearby branch and glared at me with a “Dude, I gotta eat too” kind of look in his raptor eyes.  We shared glances for several seconds and the squirrels alertly scampered away to a safer location.  The hawk was pissed and the squirrels seemed not quite so happy-go-lucky.

I continued on my way to the train station feeling a whole lot better about being stuck with this humdrum human existence of mine.   


  1. your new jersey squirrels are obviously smaller than our chunk-a-lunk fox squirrels we have here. or maybe your hawks are bigger. :)

    had to pull up my old post to see what you were linking to. made me laugh. so thanks!

  2. I used to think the best animal to be would be a great white shark because they have no enemies that prey on them. But now they're being hunted to extinction by humans for no good reason. All animals struggle to survive. When they fail, they're gone.

  3. Perspective is a wonderful thing. You got a big dose of it heading to work.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  4. I would have done the exact same thing and I applaud you for doing it. I know there's a food chain and everybody has to eat something, but..........!

  5. Reminds me of a story my softball teammate, Robby Costello, is fond of telling.

    It seems he was out on the porch with his three-year-old son. They were watching some squirrels chasing each other and doing other squirrel stuff. It was a wonderful father-son moment of enjoyment, the kid laughing and all.

    Suddenly, a big hawk comes swooping out of the sky and grabs one of the squirrels, takes off with it, and flies away.

    Robby looks at his son, fearing he'll have to explain all about death and other nasty things way too early in the kid's life. Instead, his son looks at him with a smile and says, "The birdie wanted to play, too, Daddy!"

    Robby, realizing he has been let off the hook, relaxes - until he glances up to the top of a telephone pole nearby and sees the hawk just totally ripping apart the squirrel and eating it. He says to his son, "Yes, the birdie just wanted to play. Oops! Is that your mother calling? I think it's time for supper!", and hustles him indoors before he can see the blood.

  6. I did the same thing for some baby birds.

  7. That must have felt wonderful Squirrels are fascinating to watch too.

  8. Well done. I grew up on Disney where nothing was eaten or killed. Each prey animal got away just in time and you knew the fox would eat eventually, just not in front of us. Thanks for the Disney version.

  9. When my boys were young, they heard our dog, Grizzly, raising a ruckus over by the barn. We went to see what was wrong, and found a big black snake curled up in a rabbit nest. My husband grabbed a long stick and tossed the snake farther down into the woods.

    "Yay, Daddy! You saved the baby rabbits! Grizzly is a good dog for warning us."

    My husband put the flap of grass back over the nest. We started towards the house. The boys turned around to see if Grizzly was coming with us. There he stood, eating baby rabbits right out of the nest.

  10. Squirrels are a good balance between grasshopper and ant. They know how to work but they make plenty of time for play as well. Great story.

    (btw I think you meant raptor not rapture)

    1. Actually it could have been both for the squirrel.

      From Wikipedia: The English word "rapture" is derived from the Latin verb "Rapere" meaning "to carry off,"

      I fixed it, friggin spell check, thanks!

  11. Hey Joe Spell Check is my friend ha ha

    I love watching the hawks fly around hunting but cringe when they go in for the kill, actually had a young one dive bomb the neighbors chickens, no way could he have ever picked one of them up but had to give him points for trying.

  12. Great story.. perspective is everything. But I was so sure you were going to end the post with "And that's when the train hit me."

  13. I do love hawks. That was nice of you to give the squirrels a warning. I'm thinking eventually the hawk did manage to get a meal of something. Closest I saw to a bird getting its prey was a falcon with a mouse in its talons.

    Did have a story of another falcon though. Where we used to live were lots of coyotes (even though this was the middle of a city). Everyone was always on the look out for coyotes and you never let your small dogs out in the backyard without being out there with them with a big stick. We would do the same with Koda although we knew he was more than likely a little too heavy for a coyote to jump back over the fence with Koda in his mouth. But the neighbor down the road was out in the backyard with their puppy chihuahua. They were diligently watching the fence for any coyotes, but didn't watch the sky. A falcon dive bombed and swooped the dog away......


  14. Animals. Look at them out there. Pfft.

    Things don't creep up on your in MN, except for the cold. It's not just your imagination: it really is out to get you.