Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I did not know that there was a day set aside for the furry little guys, but now that I know, things will change. Next year, we should have a party to celebrate! We can serve all kinds of nutty dishes, and wear acorn party hats. Too much? O.K., but let’s take a moment to consider the positive characteristics of the Squirrel.
As I watch them race around my yard, I am always amazed at their lifestyle. First of all, they have to be constantly aware of predators, from my large dogs to all the flying and creeping beasties in the ‘hood. Second, while watching their backs, they must forage constantly for food and defend their finds from other squirrels, birds, etc. Third, they have to secure lodging for themselves and their offspring. Last, but most intriguing of all, they seem to have a need to stash their food for safe keeping.
Now I understand their need to stay alive and avoid being eaten. I also understand the need to find food on a daily basis; I, myself, am a Big Fan of food. Finding shelter is also a necessity, particularly if you are a Maine Squirrel: our weather is outrageous (except for the one day in July). So, I feel you, Mr. or Ms. Squirrel.
That being said….what is with the stashing, or squirreling away of the foodstuff? What makes you bury everything? Are you guys masters of delayed gratification? Why not eat it now? What happens when it snows and freezes on top of the ground you just covered up? How can you get at your stash then?
About three years ago I purchased a “squirrel safe” bird feeder. I bought it online, and paid over $55.00 for a large, heavy silver-domed wire feeder.This feeder is pictured above filled with seeds. Also pictured is a Squirrel about to eat those seeds. Clearly I was sold a dream, and actually knew nothing about the persistence or resolve of Sciurus Carolinensis.
I think I need to take a course in Squirrel Behavior. What would it be called? Rodents 101?Nut-o-philia? Anyway, I want to understand these creatures and get the real answers. For lack of the true information, I tend to anthropomorphize my fur bearing neighbors. I imagine them talking to themselves, and to each other, as they fly through the maples in my backyard.
“Hey, Rocky. Keep away from my nest. I just dragged all those branches over it, and I don’t want you messing it up.”
“Yeah, Yeah. I’ve got bigger problems, you idiot. I can’t remember where I buried that freakin’ pile of sunflower seeds! Now, let’s see..I was over by that birdfeeder…..”
Determined, agile, feisty, tireless, entertaining, clever, adaptable, and amazing. Let’s celebrate the remarkable Squirrel. Peanuts anyone?