The Squirrel Whisperer
To some, squirrels are menacing little creatures who monopolize your bird seed and tear up your flowers by burying their nuts in your beds. I’ve seen people take drastic measures to reduce the squirrel population – including that of my own father-in-law. He used to set trap cages in his back yard, then take them on a 20-mile or so trek via car and release them to new territory. Somehow though, he always ended up with ‘new’ ones. lol
Well, they aren’t menacing to my Mother. She has this certain understanding and sense when it comes to them – this is why I call her The Squirrel Whisperer.
I don’t know when it all started, actually. She’s always loved animals, besides her pets I mean. That of the wild. Birds and bunny rabbits – and squirrels. I remember several years back when she called up on a early Saturday afternoon. “Something is in my fireplace” she said. I went over there, and during the course of the afternoon it became apparent that there sure WAS something in there. It was a squirrel – holding on tight doing a spread-eagle on the rounded flute!! It was the funniest most pathetic sight I ever did see. Fast-forward through many attempts to free the creature, to no avail. They ended up calling this rodent-control/removal service (that assured them they would do everything humanely possible to save the animal). To make an already long story short, you’d have thought the guy was killing the squirrel. Of all the screaming, it was terrible. All the sudden, one big YANK o’ the hook and here comes the soot-stained squirrel running out from the fireplace, straight out the storm door which we had propped open. Out he goes in true Christmas Vacation fashion, leaving Mom and I standing there – one of us holding a broom, and the other holding a blanket to shoo the squirrel towards the door like some wanna-be matador. We’ve laughed about this ‘rescue’ many times.
In her own back yard that I call little Utopia, therein resides a bird/squirrel/bunny sanctuary. Obviously all these animals talk to each other, because word has gotten out that this is THE backyard to come to. There are feeders, houses, birdbaths, little benches, flower gardens, and plenty of mature trees. If I was a bird or squirrel, I’d surely pick Mom’s back yard to live and I’ve told her so on many occasions. She just smiles.
Unfortunately Mom’s come in contact with some little orphans – in particular, one that she calls Junior. A couple of years back, there was an adult squirrel smashed out in the road. Not long after that there was a baby squirrel laying on a tree branch in her back yard, crying. Now if you’ve ever heard a squirrel cry, whether baby or adult, it’s heart-wrenching. It sounds just like a baby’s cry! Even though many things come naturally to an animal (building nests, flying, mating, hunting) a squirrel’s nest-building skills aren’t one of them. The little orphans are pretty much clueless as to how to build their home if they aren’t lessoned by a parent. After a little time, they’ll throw together a makeshift nest – though not carefully constructed enough to last. It usually always ends up back where it originated – the ground.
The first time Junior’s nest fell he was still a young lad, and he laid up on the branch and cried for a couple of days. After that he went a long stretch of time without a nest, and Mom worried about him so. Months later, he built again. Just last week after major storms, Junior’s mess of a nest was once again on the ground.
So what does his Mom do?
She gathers the nest up, puts it in a new wrought-iron basket and attaches it as high up in the tree as she can get it (barring a broken neck) near where he originally had it placed. This little squirrel loves his Mom. I see the way he looks at her when she takes pictures of him. Mom has told me when she pulls in the driveway, the little thing comes running from the back yard, up the driveway towards the car.
These little animals are lucky to have a Mom like her. And, I know how they feel. 🙂