January 21, 2010

Squirrel Appreciation Day?

I’m taking a break from the news of the day to focus on something a little closer to home. Very close to home, in fact: right in our garden, just off the patio.

We're talking squirrels. That there are only three in this picture is really a testament to my bad timing. Sometimes we'll have half a dozen or more lurking in, on, or around the feeders.

I had no idea there was such a thing as Squirrel Appreciation Day, which is celebrated (if that's the correct word) each January 21st. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. After all, last year I learned there were two national societies focused on possums. So, nothing in the backyard creature world should really be a shock. (January 21st is also National Hugging Day
although no one’s really recommending that anyone go out and hug a squirrel. I don't think).

Here in The Valley, every day is appreciation day for the little monsters. They appreciate My Sweet Baboo and the generous donations he makes to their good health and well being; they appreciate the birds who stay away, or get out of the way, until the squirrels are done eating; and they appreciate that Michael T, our only outside cat, is not at all interesting in getting himself a nice pair of squirrel mittens. They also appreciate the little maple, and the quince, that provide vantage points and launching pads up towards the feeders.

My Sweet Baboo, on the other hand, doesn’t appreciate the squirrels anywhere near as much as they appreciate him. They eat too much, they bother the birds, and they laugh at Michael T. We got some hot red pepper and MSB’s been adding it to the bird seed, but apparently it’s not hot enough to wean the squirrels off the feeders, or even to really slow them down.

The average squirrel needs to eat about a pound of food a week to maintain an active lifestyle. Our squirrels, all above average (think Lake Woebegon effect), are likely getting more than that...with a little kick to help keep them warm.

Take a look - I took these the other morning.

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