I’ve been encouraging a friend to start a blog. He refuses. But sometimes he sends me little stories. I asked if I could post this one on my blog as a guest post. He said yes, but picked a pen name… You’ll have to guess who it is. (But I won’t confirm your answers.)
I love squirrels, their playful attitude and the way they scurry from tree limb to tree limb, but the past few days I’ve felt like Bill Murray in”Caddyshack”.
Red Squirrel - by Jeremy Martin
I caught one of the little red ground squirrels coming out of my bird box (where the wrens lived) with feathers in his mouth. Now, it’s bad enough that I can’t keep them from leaping from the fences onto any birdfeeder they want, but this was too much. I resolved to initiate eminent domain and execute a forced relocation.
Off to the hardware store I went, and came home very satisfied with a small animal live trap, which would let me drive the scoundrel to a park about a mile away.
Then I tried to set it up. Needing the skilled hands of a surgeon to get the tension properly adjusted, and lacking this skill, I fought with the aluminum contraption for at least half an hour before I finally decided I had it.
Round One: I positioned the trap under a tree they favor and waited for their chirping voices. It didn’t take long, and the guilty squirrel began a whole series of excited rushes and false charges, always stopping and running back up the tree. Finally he approached it slowly and my excitement mounted. But rather than enter one of the two doors, he kept up a sideways attack. Finally, he jiggled it enough to set off the trap, which sent him off up the tree for a long, long time. Good, I thought, maybe I’ve scared him away for good. Just in case, I moved the trap across the walkway and into one corner of my garden.
Round Two: about 5 or 10 minutes later I heard the chittering of my nemisis. This time he had brought a fiend, a smaller lighter version of himself, which I assume was his mate.
Can you imagine the conversation back at the nest?
“Really honey, there was a huge pile of that peanut butter-like stuff we love back there, but it’s inside some stange metal thing with doors and rods that scare me. I don’t wanna go in; come see.”
“Really Sam you are such a baby. But I’ll go look.”
The two of them came down the tree trunk, the male in the lead as if to say “uh oh, it’s moved, stand back.”
The female hesitated for about one second and then marched right in the trap door, took a good-sized hunk of the bait and then camly backed out before going back up the tree, pausing just long enough to look at hubby like he was a total wuss.
Hubby waited a few nervous minutes before repeating her moves.
Obviously, something was wrong with the trap, so I went out and checked everything twice, touching the bait tray with a stick and “boom!”, the trap doors slammed shut each time. My doubts about the tension of the rods and ability to read instructions let up just a little.
I told myself it was just a matter of time and waited…
Round Three: With the trap now in the garden I could watch even more closely what might be going wrong. But just watching and waiting soon grew boring so I went back to a good book I’ve been reading. I don’t know how much time passed, but suddenly out of the corner of my eye I spotted one of the dastardly duo doing what they seem to do best: hanging upside down on one of my suet woodpecker feeders gorging itself on some costly stuff I buy to keep my favorite species of birds frequent visitors. I was incensed! I jumped up from my chair and slammed open the screen door and yelled “Get out of here! Find some nuts! That’s bird food you rodent!
You’ll never guess what happened next. The squirrel, as it usually does, scurried down the pole, but did he/she make a bee-line for the tree, which they also usually do?
No. The impudent creature ran straight to the trap AND TOOK REFUGE THERE, running back and forth as if it was a fortress of protection!
That was it for me. Three rounds and out. I had only one ace up my sleeve. After shamefully hauling the trap back inside to ponder poor craftsmanship vs poor comprehension I did the only thing left: I strapped Pha into her harness and leash, wrapped the leash around a fence post and left her a little food and water.
I didn’t hear another squirrel “chirp” the rest of the day.
Today they won the battle, but the war us far from over.
Sam: Can you believe that guy? What an idiot!
Sally: Yeah, well, don’t act like the brave hero, Mr. “There’s a strange metal box, come save us”.
Sam: Yeah, but that guy can’t even SPELL!!! Have you ever seen anything so bad, you “fiend”? I mean, it’s like he never even HEARD of Spellcheck!
Sally: The funniest thing is he believes that silly cat on a string frightened us away all afternoon. We were just STUFFED!
I’m told there will be more installments to this saga! Can’t wait…