I finally decided that feeding the squirrels was easier than keeping them away from the bird feeders, which is something I was never able to do anyway. So now we have a couple of bird feeders and a squirrel feeder in the back yard.
Prepared I was not for the amount of entertainment they provide. Their feeder is an old covered bird feeder hanging from a slender pole. They have to climb it, perch on top, make a leap for the roof of the feeder, and hang upside down to get at the food. The general rule is one on top and two or three on the ground, all keeping watch for the dreaded Westy, who may come darting out in squirrel ambush mode at any moment.
I’m never sure if they are playing or mating when the ‘ring-around-the-tree-trunk’ games begin, but they are fun to watch either way. Squirrels mate young and quickly produce offspring, so you would think we would be overrun with them, but not so. The two, or maybe three, resident nests, have stayed the same for years, and the resident population remains stable at four to six. That has to mean a squirrel diaspora of some kind, as well as, of course, the usual road kill solution to over population.
The birds don’t seem to mind. In fact, some of them prefer the squirrel food and happily partake along side the furry critters. A crow, not known to be an avid seed eater, has become a full time member of the back yard gang with a particular affection for corn. All of them, song birds, squirrels and crows, share the bird bath in apparent harmony. Some drink, some bathe, some drink and bathe, and the crow dips food in it to soften things up a bit (probably left his dentures in the nest).
Is there a lesson to be learned from this? Yes there is. Sitting quietly on the patio just watching brings peace and a smile, and that’s a lot these days.