Did you know that a group of squirrels is a ‘scurry’? I had to look that up. A ‘dray’ of squirrels is also correct, but scurry fits the bill.
Late last year a friend put me in touch with a squirrel rescue group, Injured and Orphaned Wildlife. They take in orphaned squirrels and care for them till they are ready to be released into the wild. They’ve called me twice to make arrangements to release the squirrels in our back garden. They want to re-release the squirrels into neighborhoods with established squirrel populations. Yup, we qualify!
Ann came by Saturday morning and left a nesting box of six young squirrels. The first two darted out of the box and raced up the tree and over the fence. I watched for a while from our bedroom window. One of the squirrels left the box and ran up the fence, but the cat netting (a barrier we use to keep our cats safely inside the fence) confused him. Instead of running along the fence to freedom, he froze in place…for over ten minutes. Poor little thing.
The remaining two or three kept us entertained all afternoon. They poked their heads out of the box, then jumped out. Back in they went, then out again.
Finally, the braver of the two (or three, it was really hard to tell) climbed up the side of the compost netting, into the orange tree and up to the top.
By dusk there was only one squirrel left in the box and he didn’t want to leave. Ann said to bring the box off the ground once it got dark, so I moved him to higher ground and faced the box toward the fence. That seemed to be all he needed to leave his wooden home, and off he went exploring the garden.
We have hundreds of photos and video of these squirrels. I’ve pared it down to a respectable number to share. I feel like a first time mom hanging on to every precious little picture of her offspring.
I’m also a little worried. These squirrels are used to people, though their rescuers do their best to keep them ‘wild.’ One of the six squirrels, however, is brave. Too brave. I’ve startled him twice (both times eating tomatoes) and he just glanced in my direction. He was breathing heavily, but he didn’t run away. I hope that part of it is simply the folly of youth. It’s not that I want them to be afraid of us, just that I know they need a certain savvy to make it in the wild.
In any event, all eyes were on the garden this weekend as we peered through windows and doors and occasionally ventured outside. For the second time in a month I’ve had the enormous pleasure of interacting with nature. It’s extraordinary.
Just for Fun:
Mike propped his iPhone between two books and set the camera to time-lapse. This 28 second video is actually 28 minutes in real-time. No sound, just half a minute of crazy fun.