Monday, September 25, 2017
I’M A SQUIRREL WATCHER
I’M A SQUIRREL WATCHER
Watching squirrels go by; oh my, my-my*
This Cranky re-run is from September 2013Squirrels; 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.