My neighbors like to grumble about squirrels raiding their bird feeders, but their hearts aren’t really cold towards the little rodents. Those same neighbors place corn and squirrel treats into squirrel feeders on the trees.
I’ve long been a fan of the mischievous critters because my landlord doesn’t allow pets in the house. So I enjoy what Mother Nature provides, instead. A homemade squirrel feeder and an ear of field corn make an excellent gathering place for squirrel families that I can replenish instantly.
Today, I’m giving my little bushy tailed yard creatures an extra helping of treats, because this is national Squirrel Appreciation Day in the USA. It’s time to recognize and enjoy the little acrobats that keep so many of us amused and entertained.
A wildlife rehabilitator from the Western North Carolina Nature Center, Christy Hargrove, started Squirrel Appreciation Day and lobbied for its commemmoration. Hargrove says, “Celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.”
One spring day, several years ago, one of my coworkers, Dave, stopped by for a visit. I was already in the yard, planting some flower seeds. I looked up and called out to my friend, “Hi, Dave”. Moments later, the neighborhood alpha male squirrel trotted close to me, begging for food. My friend and I decided that the squirrel’s name should be, “Dave”. This is also, why I call all of the squirrels that feed in my yard, “Dave”, regardless of gender.
My neighborhood is supplied with many old trees. There are a dozen elm trees in my yard alone, and a couple of dozen on the riverbank behind the yard. Most of these trees contain a squirrel nest. I have no shortage of free, live entertainment available every day.
In fact, squirrels can be found in most nations on Earth. There’s a species for each day of the year, 365, at least. If you have some trees nearby, just look out the window and you might see one or more squirrels.
Because I live adjacent to a river, I use some caution around squirrels, because they may contact other animals from the river habitat. Even if a squirrel does not have rabies, there is a remote possibility of one turning on you. I never feed squirrels out of my hand.
A couple of summers ago, I arrived home from the gym to the sight of feathers drifting down from one of the trees. Two squirrels were making strange growling noises and feasting on a mourning dove. I was quite unnerved by the incident. The two squirrels even scolded me as I crossed the yard.
A few weeks later, one squirrel was determined to get into my house via the front door. She gnawed several large chunks out of the wooden threshold. To prevent further damage, I had to install sheet metal onto that part of the door frame.
Despite the freaky incidents, I still enjoy watching the neighborhood squirrels. They get treats from me at a tree mounted feeder about 50 feet away from my house. I just can’t resist watching the little things.
Happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness experiences tense “peaceful coexistance” with his rival squirrels.