Have You Ever Studied Squirrels?
In the past thirteen years, Bailey developed a wonderful knowledge about neighborhood squirrels. She spent hours every day sitting on the backyard patio, waiting, watching, and of course, napping. Once Barkleah became a fulltime resident at our abode, he acquired a taste for squirrel-hunting as well.I
If we wanted excitement, all we had to do was yell out, “Squirrel.” Their immediate response was to jump, bark, and race to the backdoor. As we continued their squirrel-call, they chased each other in a tight circle around the kitchen until the door opened. Once freed from the prison of the house, they raced across the yard, searching for the enemy.
Squirrels, especially female ones, are described as highly intelligent and gifted tormentors. We were fortunate to have several who lived in the mature elm trees in our backyard. The resident pests would skillfully swing from branch to branch, slowly moving from tree to tree. They chattered continuously to attract Bailey and Barkleah. The destination—the top rail of our split-rail fence. There the squirrels swung, upside down, as if to say, “Catch me if you can.”
Naturally, the gullible dogs accepted the challenge. As they raced towards the fence, their barking grew louder. The squirrel would hang upside down, just out of their reach, her teasing voice sharper. She was the most amazing creature hanging from the bird feeder. Her tail, full and fluffy, and colored a deep red and brown.
We respectfully named our prize tormentor Fluffy. She became a daily visitor. Her main goal was to tease our poor puppies. Her secondary goal was to collect nuts for her winter residence.
They barked as she hung upside down on the metal hook that held the birdfeeder, both hands in the bird seed. She completed her meal, ignoring the dogs trembling below. She casually climbed downfrom the feeder and challenged the puppies to a sprint across the yard. Of course, both dogs were game. Fluffy reached her home tree and climbed into the branches leaving the dogs jumping at the trunk.
The dogs failed to protect the custom Cardinal and Bluebird mix. Therefore, we installed a Squirrel baffle. Fluffy upped the stakes and overcame it easily. Preferring gourmet seed, she refused the squirrel-food put out for her.
Fluffy moved into our attic for the winter. After contacting a professional Squirrel hunter, we grew disillusioned. By law, the squirrel was a protected species. The only action allowed—seal the hole in our house and hope she was not inside at the time. Now it was all out war.
After contacting several experts, my crafty grandson installed peanut butter into a two ended cage. This cage was placed on the roof in a path to the hole made by the squirrel. In just one hour, Fluffy was happily eating peanut butter in the cage and we were traveling to a beautiful park four miles from our home. What a win – win for us all. The dogs could rest from the teasing, I could get back to working on my novel, and Fluffy would be living in a new resort with many other beautiful squirrels. We patched our roof where she’d entered.
Within one short week, familiar sounds came from my roof. Yes, Fluffy was back. We reached a truce. She could have the gourmet bird seed and a nest in the trees. She could tease Bailey and Barkleah; it was good exercise. We have learned to live in peace With Fluffy, the master Squirrel.