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A Squirrel's Easter

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Easter morning is when those who think about such things envision rebirth, everything and everyone becoming new again. What was dead is now risen. For the squirrels in my backyard owl box, Easter morning 2018 was, apparently, a time of emergence. 

I had suspected a squirrel was nesting in the box, because I'd seen one stretched out on its roof a few times, basking in rare spots of sun. I even said, "Liam, I think there are going to be some baby squirrels in that box before long. Keep an eye out."

And, always watching, he called me into the living room. "Ma! Come look! There's something peeking out of the squirrel box!"

Oh!! What a lovely April 1 surprise! The drama began at 9:23 AM on this gray, cold day. Two little squirrels take their first looks at the world outside. No idea how many are actually in there, but the most we saw at one time was two.

Ma comes to keep a watchful eye. The natives are restless. 

And hungry. Come on inside, Ma. Give us a nursing!

If you want to nurse, I suggest you come outside. 

It's nice out here. A bit chilly, but I have another warm dry place in mind. 

Here's how you do it. You cling, decide where you're going, then just...leap! 

You WHAT???!!

There is no way in the world I am going to do that. Nope. Staying here. 

Oh come on. We're squirrels! We were born to cling! If you don't want to leap, you can just scrabble. 

Like...this? You hang on with your claws? And you don't fall??

I...I can't. 

You can. You will. I will be here to catch you if you fall.  

And I am coming in after you if you refuse. You ARE all leaving this box, this morning. 

I'm hungry. You smell good. Come inside and give us a quick nurse. 
I love you. I love to nurse.

I love you too, but I'm not coming back in that box. If you want to nurse you'll have to come out. 

Maybe if I lean out and sneak a teat...

She left again! Ma! I...I...I'm going to try the clinging thinggg...

Brrrrrr woooo that is so scary! Back in with me. Nope. 
Nopeity nope nope nope. 

Cardinal whistles, "You can do it do it do it do it do it!"

I'm going to try again with you. Don't make me come in after you.

You cling with your hind feet and then you can do anything you want with your front feet. Like this!

By now, it's 9:47. The baby squirrels have been hesitating at the box entrance for 23 minutes.  Ma takes matters into her strong squirrely arms.

She's got him by a hind leg, and she's using her teeth now.  Ow ow ow!

I'm gonna get you out if it's the last thing I...mmmfff...

You little stinkpot. Hanging on with every claw you were born with.

I think I need to call for backup. This is like pushing soup uphill with a fork.

It's now 9:52, and Ma Squirrel's been trying to coax and finally manhandle her babies out of their warm box for 31 minutes. Your blogger's been glued to the window the whole time, shooting from inside the house, for none of this would have happened had Ma seen me outside, watching. 

The story goes on, of course, as they all do,  but it's taken me three hours to edit a zillion photos and get them posted,  and I've got to pack now. Because I'm traveling again! 


First: I'll be telling the story of Jemima Jay and my work on Baby Birds for the Explorer Lecture Series Celebrating Women in Science, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 7 pm Friday, April 13. Booksigning afterward.

Second: I'll fly from Cleveland to Atlanta to kick off events with the Baby Birds/Jemima talk for the ten-day Atlanta Bird Fest on Saturday, April 14, 4 pm, Chattahoochee Nature Center. Booksigning afterward. Please note that online ticket sales end at NOON, Friday, April 13, so grab one of the remaining seats now. 

Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing my adventures. 
I hope to see you somewhere farther on down the line. 


Go WEST, young woman! That way this Oregonian can see you, too!

P.S. Even though my bluebirds aren't pecking at the window, I did take down the hummer feeder bracket to deter them. Thanks!

Oh, I just love the way you put words in their mouths! It gave me a titter that I certainly needed!

Posted by Anonymous April 11, 2018 at 5:43 PM


Laughing out loud here. Best wishes for a safe and fulfilling journey. Just heard a couple people talk about their lousy air travel experiences; hope yours go well. Kim in PA

Looking forward to seeing you again in ATL!

I love it when you include dialogue with your nature pictures! This post ranks right up there with my past favorites--the house finch sidling up to the bluebird in the birdbath and the feisty tufted titmouse who was unwilling to share Zick Dough with a Carolina wren.

This was really funny. All moms know the "Mom" language!

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