Watching the squirrels recently was such a treat for wife Jean that I asked her to share with you what was going on. Here is her wonderful, in depth report.
It was sad to read that P.T. Barnum’s Circus shut down, but on a much smaller scale we recently found a replacement right outside our office window .
Viburnum nudum is a deciduous shrub that grows in the wild, likely planted by birds. It leafs in spring, then pretty white flowers come, followed by berries…and that is where this story begins. A good mental exercise for Monday morning if you follow carefully, since we did not have a video camera handy.
Just outside the window are two sizable Viburnums, beneath the tall hickory trees where the squirrels do their daily, entertaining calisthenics. Younger branches on the Viburnum are willowy and the berries are at the end of the branch. Well, on this morning a squirrel with good sight spotted the berries and tried several times without success to climb to the end to reach them. He then spotted a young hickory tree whose branches are stronger and ‘figgered how he could climb the hickory tree, then jump near the end of the Viburnum branch. Smart critter! He made the jump and clung to the Viburnum as it swayed and drooped, holding on alternately with all four sharp little feet, then front only. Still could not get his teeth to the berries. He revamped his plan, tried several limbs, finally spotted one that he could hang from using only his two back feet and reach the berries with his sharp little teeth! Never had I seen a squirrel hang by his back feet, full length suspended! It is not possible to describe how he reached this position. He stayed until he had his fill, then jumped (or fell?) to the ground.
I could see several lessons in watching this free show – determination, ingenuity, perseverance, appreciation for nature, struggle for food, AND value in turning off the computer and getting outside…for starters.”