February 16, 2021
With all the backyard’s focus on the birds during the cold and snow we have experienced, Melissa mentioned how she had not seen the squirrel for almost a week. I admit, I had been wondering the same thing. While I used to run them off, giving in and accepting their raids on our feeders has meant we now enjoy their antics as well. I assured her he was alright. He was probably hunkered down in his nest munching the seed and nuts he had stored previously. At least, that was my hope.
I looked online to find out about my squirrel and nesting habits. A Squirrel nest, or drey, is a compact, spherical structure that is slightly larger than a football. It is constructed of twigs, leaves, bark, and grass. Squirrels usually nest solo, but during the height of the mating season (usually the beginning of the calendar year) both male and female squirrels will share a nest for the purpose of mating. They may also share a nest to help conserve body heat during the coldest stage of winter. Squirrels do not hibernate and regularly venture out to their food stores for supplies. I guess my squirrel was just keeping warm.
Apparently either the squirrel’s stores had been exhausted or at least diminished enough, because he came out to help himself to the sunflower seed yesterday. It still drives me crazy that the corn and peanuts I put out for the squirrel are eaten by the cardinals and jays and the sunflower seeds I put out for the cardinals are the first place the squirrel goes to eat. He usually hangs upside down on the fence and works his way through as much seed as he can handle. With all the blackbirds in every feeder he decided to take a new tact. This time he crawled into the feeder and curled his tail up over his head and back. The blackbirds were not happy about his presence, but curled up as he was, he seemed immune to their dive bombing. Instead, he ignored the blackbirds and sat munching away for over 30 minutes.
Thoughts: I tend to root for the underdog in most situations. The word ”underdog” comes from the dogfights in the late 19th century. The loser was called the ”underdog,” and the winner was the ”top dog”. That has carried over to watching the birds at the feeders. Initially I was irritated by the squirrel eating all the seed. Then I saw the jays driving him off and I grew to like him, even giving him his own feeder (not that he uses it). I do not like the jays much because they drive other birds away and claim a feeder for themselves. Many movies depict an underdog who rises to the occasion and overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds. Generally, this is accomplished by forming a rag tag team and working together. We do not have to be rag tag to overcome the effects of the current pandemic, but we do need to work together. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.