Saturday, September 17, 2016

Real Backyard Nature Study

Crash! "A squirrels' nest fell, mama!" And our lesson on whatever it was, morphed into two hours of watching out our back window as:

The boys were so quiet it was almost unbelievable. Charles ran for the camera, and he carefully and silently slid the screen up and moved it out the window...I admit to taking over and saving my camera from certain doom as he zoomed in to see what was happening.

The mother squirrel spent hours returning to the nest, searching, and attempting to lead each baby back up the trees. She did not always go back up the same tree, and it looked like she was distributing them to neighbors' nests around the yard as she went. It was pretty fascinating. Just last week, a baby fell out of the nest and landed on the fence, wet, clinging and petrified out of moving until the mama squirrel came to get it. This week, they were mobile and first played tag with mom, scrambling around the whole yard until the right path was painstakingly communicated. Mother squirrels can be as loud as a harpy when their babies are in danger. Shrieking, scolding, running up and down trees; it was not a show to miss! 

Our anxiety practically matched hers as we worried and wondered if all of the babies made it. We witnessed the extraction of four little squirrels. There may have been more, but I was dragged back to my cooking duties when everyone got hungry.

Baby squirrels may be trouble, but little humans are ornery creatures when they get hungry. Lunch: the harvest made into soup: but only the ones the squirrels have not yet stolen or nibbled.

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