Friday, August 04, 2006

Determination Has a Fluffy Tail

Every birder I know, every bird web site I read, wails about squirrels and how they eat up all the feed put out for the birds. Personally, I admire squirrels as very clever, determined creatures (except for the ones that used to live in my attic, of course). I have one feeder in the middle of the open yard with a baffle on the pole, which the squirrels actually don't try to climb. Why should they bother? The birds are always pushing sunflower seed husks to the ground, including enough with the seed still in it to keep the squirrels happy with no effort expended. Our other feeder hangs from a tree, and over the years the squirrels have given us lots of laughs as they attack it. The young squirrels take the direct approach - jump at it, and then fall to the ground. We know they are growing up when they stop this brute force attack and start using their little rodent brains.

The squirrels are wary of anyone coming in the yard, so I have to take pictures of them through the porch screens, and they tend to come out fuzzy. It takes great skill and determination to reach down from the top of the feeder, around the baffle, until the squirrel swings under it all together. Holding on to the perches with three feet while reaching in with one paw to grab a seed certainly receives my applause. Any creature willing to work this hard deserves any seeds he can get.

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