Thursday, June 09, 2005


By way of Dave Bary's blog:
"Russian City Invaded By Squirrels"

Read the full story here:

This story comes on the heels of our own discovery that our primary birdfeeder - the surprisingly effective Squirrel-B-Gone TM birdfeeder - had been jumped and pounced upon so often that the springs that shut the feeding stations when a squirrel lands on them have been pulled hugely out of shape. I, like the Russian town in the story, chose to feed rather than fight our squirrel. Mostly it works, and we see him all the time in his post under the birdfeeder picking up fallen seed. I also have dried corn on the cob from my bargain with the fuzzy guy last year, and he still politely leaves the empty cobs on my deck stairs. I just wanted to tell the folks in Russia that I really like their punk rock squirrels:

Russian Squirrel Posted by Hello
(Photo used with thanks but without permission, from Pravda)

Dude! Ease up on the hair products! :)

I also want to tell the Russian people that although their squirrels may have become brazen in their borderline criminal behavior, that at least they are behaving in a sane, rational, hungry way. In other words, we still win the prize for total squirrel insanity. Have I blogged about this before? When we bought this place, we asked the tenants if there were any little quirks, as one might expect in a house over a hundred years old. They said, "Well. There is this insane squirrel."

Oh ho! Ha ha ha! Funny, we said.

"No," they said. "Really."

When I first spotted him, I opened the window and told him he was our squirrel now. He looked unimpressed, but he came to learn that establishing his territory in the yard of people who love fuzzy critters seriously upped his standard of living.

Mr. Squirrel on Deck Posted by Hello

That first summer we put out a birdfeeder. Just a classic black oil sunflower seed dispenser. Mr. Squirrel had not read the label and knew it to be a squirrel feeder. He could climb the thin shepherd's crook to hang on the feeder and gulp down seed. Stephan went out back and sprayed the pole with pam cooking spray. OK, *that* was funny, complete with a three stooges whoop! whoop! whoop! sliding down the pole visual. Nevermind something was wrong with the pole, Mr. Squirrel could leap great distances - despite not actually being of the flying squirrel variety - and land on the feeder from nearby trees.

Mr. Squirrel's secret identity (credit: Posted by Hello

He shopped it around to all the lady squirrels, the best restaurant in town! We often saw him with his date sitting on the edge of the birdbath (squirrel drinking fountain) at sunset. Tres romantic! But his seed jones was breaking these monkey's backs. We were filling the feeder every couple of days. So back to the store to pick out - you guessed it - the Squirrel-B-Gone TM birdfeeder.

Within minutes of the new feeder being filled and placed on the shepherd's crook, the squirrel leapt to it like a flying Walenza. The spring action surprised him, but he held on - boing! boing! - until it calmed down. He then found that although it looked full, none of the feed bays had more than a couple of seeds. His weight shut off the main chamber. He tried different tactics, different approaches, but it was no use. He was getting a distinctly unwelcome feeling. By afternoon, I was walking through the apartment, trying to pin down a weird noise. eee... eeee...eeeeeeeee.... At the bathroom window, I saw it. Mr. Squirrel lay flat on his stomach in the dry birdbath, his nose pointing over the edge at the uncooperative feeder. It was the saddest squirrel I ever hope to see. I ran out then and bought him dried corn. I know, I'm a sucker, but you were not there to hear the deep sorrow echoing across the yard.

Mr. Squirrel learned that the best spot was to sit right under the feeder, that the bird brains who dine there drop plenty of seed for him. He hooked up with Mrs. Squirrel, and last year had three baby squirrels. His wild & crazy Squirrel-about-town days may be behind him,

Squirrel Hold 'Em Posted by Hello

but he is fed & happy with his family. He continues to do things we have never seen another squirrel do - like nap on the back deck, belly up, eyes closed. Sometimes he sleeps with his head hanging over the edge. The first time, he scared the heck out of us. We were convinced he was dead, so Stephan went out back with gloves and a shovel.

Squirrel Nap 1 Posted by Hello

Hard to say who was more surprised when the squirrel popped up from his nap.

Squirrel Nap 2 Posted by Hello

Mr. Squirrel, you are truly nuts, but we love you. It is good to know, as Billy Joel would say, that the Russians love their squirrels too.


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