Five Little Squirrels: Welcome to the Neighborhood

three baby squirrels

Three of the six baby squirrels, September 2, 2014 Photo courtesy of Jessica B.

A few months ago my friend Jessica rescued half a dozen baby squirrels. Two young boys in her neighborhood found them on the ground and brought them to her for help. The squirrels were small, eyes still closed, and unable to survive in the wild on their own. Jess contacted a rescue group who took them in, but they needed a place to release them once they were old enough to be on their own.

Guess whose arm shot up in the air?  Pick me, PICK ME.

I called Connie who works with a few other home-based volunteers the following day. The rescue group, Injured and Orphaned Wildlife, said it would be a few months before the squirrels were ready. They would be in touch when the babies could survive on their own. They want to re-release the squirrels into neighborhoods with established squirrel populations. We definitely qualify.

Last night I got the call. The volunteer asked if she could release them in our garden this morning?

Ann arrived around 10:30 with five young squirrels in tow. They traveled in a wooden nesting box, encased in a larger plastic crate ready to move in to Gardening Nirvana.

the squirrels arrive

The squirrels arrive in the garden

She placed their nesting box under our orange tree and scattered handfuls of fruits and vegetables nearby. After lifting the top of the wooden nest, we stood back and waited.

squirrel nesting box

Placing the nesting box under the orange tree

lifting the lid, vegetables nearby

Ann scatters vegetables nearby, then lifts the lid to the nesting box

They remained huddled together, poor little things, breathing heavily and trying to burrow to the bottom of their cozy box.

five squirrels

Five huddling squirrels

Ann said that once one of squirrels leaves the box, the others usually follow. In our case, two of them shot out within seconds of each other, and raced to the safety of nearby shrubs.

I'm out of here

I’m out of here. One of the first two squirrels to leave the nest

The remaining three hunkered down. I watched for half an hour, but reluctantly had to leave for appointments. Ann asked me to call her if they were still in the box at nightfall. If so, she would return and secure the nesting box to a tree. By mid-afternoon, they had vacated the box. We’ve watched from inside as they explore the garden. What joy!

three trembling squirrels

Three trembling squirrels

I’m grateful for all the caring hearts that brought this to fruition: the two young boys who knew the tiny squirrels needed help, and my friend Jess for taking them in and contacting a rescue group. Special thanks to Connie who takes in these rescues and Ann who delivered the nesting box, with the care and wisdom of someone that’s rescued critters for over 30 years.