Take a flying Leap
Wednesday February 29th 2012, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

My son John was due Feb. 29th. He chose to wait a week so his sister could have her surgery she needed. Happy due-iversary, John!

And today is the 15th anniversary of my parents’ engagement–although, yes, Dad did the asking. Happy engage-iversary, Mom and Dad!

And what I did on their date…

Squirrels don’t learn by fear or they could never sustain themselves. But they just didn’t like that flashy flying box under the feeder. It was just me and the birds since setting it up.

Unable to stand being left out any longer, this morning a black squirrel decided at last to head for the patio to graze underneath it. If it’s safe enough for a chickadee…

But. As soon as he took the first few happy bouncy steps off that tree, Alpha, the black one with reddish highlights who fought off that big gray fox squirrel a few months ago and claimed his dominion over my yard, appeared suddenly from the base of another tree and took after him at a flat-out screaming run, out for blood. They zigged this way. They zagged that way. FAST!

And out of sight and gone.

That’s when I knew the porch was still under their surveillance. Alpha came by a little later for sustenance after that marathon, and a few nuts were tossed his way; I figure, if the place is his (add a little more motivation), he’ll keep the numbers down.

What intrigued me is that two weeks ago he couldn’t follow a line of sight of a tidbit flying past his nose; now he can. Not only that, but he’s figured out that what my finger way over here inside is doing is being his personal food GPS, and he can turn to follow as it turns.

I tested him. He was  happy to be tested. A walnut this time! He wasn’t perfect, but he was far from the hopeless nut case he was before.

Object constancy happens for his species at maturity. Happy Spring.

A big gray came by in the afternoon and made it clear that, okay, he wasn’t going near that weird swingy thing up there but that’s fine, he’d picked up a taste for the expensive peanut-and-suet I like to set out for the wrens. And they’re ground birds. It was right there waiting for him near the door.

Not! I was surprised; the squirrels all used to turn up their noses at it.

He got good at gauging how long it took me to pump the squirter, open the door and then raise the thing and actually start to squirt, how long he could ignore me before he had to make a dash for it.

That’s too aggressive-urban-squirrel for my taste. This would not do.

I got it. I took an old keyboard and leaned it against the wooden box there. Ran the cord to inside. Shut the door. Waited.

Here he swaggered. Definitely some fox-type in him, even if his ears are a bit big for it. He gradually worked his way towards that suet as if I wouldn’t notice because, you know, he was being all subtle about it, and the strangeness of that new object hadn’t kept him away long at all. But carefully, before he got close enough that it could possibly hurt him–

–I yanked his chain.

And as that electric cord flipped up and the keyboard came crashing noisily down on the concrete, you never saw any animal run like that one ran.

He did not come back.

But then, there’s a difference between fear and a dead-certain knowledge of a monster lurking waiting to pounce.


8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great leap day fun there. I’ll wish John a happy birthday while I’m thinking about it too.

The keyboard training tool made me giggle.

Comment by Channon 03.01.12 @ 7:29 am

A great horror movie: I was attacked by a giant keyboard!

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 03.01.12 @ 8:13 am

I had my own squirrel surprise yesterday, I was sitting at my desk reading different blogs , when a smallish gray squirrel appeared . He was climbing my siding to get to the roof of the kitchen (have huge window looking over the back yard)stopped and looked at me at my desk. than slipped and fell. Didn’t know I was that scary.

Comment by Kris 03.01.12 @ 8:22 am

“…the hopeless nut case…” Was that deliberate? This whole thing sounds like something out of a Disney movie. That makes you the Wicked Witch.

Comment by Don Meyer 03.01.12 @ 10:14 am

leaping good fun! the local squirrel appeared yesterday afternoon to tease the dog — she ignores him pretty much

this morning, however, we had a pair of doves sitting in the back yard — something new — I’m glad to see them (now I will be teaching the dog not to chase them!)

Comment by Bev 03.01.12 @ 10:15 am

Now I’m picturing you setting up a vast network of Rube-Goldberg-like squirrel-startling devices. Perfect YouTube material!

Comment by RobinH 03.01.12 @ 10:21 am

You would miss them if they really left the feeders alone – you are having too much fun with this!

Comment by twinsetellen 03.01.12 @ 8:57 pm

Trying to outsmart squirrils will keep your brain young and flexible.

Comment by LauraN 03.02.12 @ 8:24 am

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>