Monday, January 22, 2018

Squirrel Appreciation Day?


You're kidding, right? Nope. It is a thing. And Squirrel Appreciation Day was yesterday, as I discovered by chance, hours after putting this wheatgrass on the table in the garden, hoping to attract my favorite bird, Gordita, who was MIA... I was worried a cat might have got her.

So the squirrel showed up, instead, and nibbled the grass very neatly and quite adorably. I hate the squirrels. Most of the time. They eat my bulbs and mess with my seedlings. Tourists from squirrel-free countries love them, and stalk them in Central Park.


Back to Gordita. She is an eastern towhee, above (on the Unattractive Gray Concrete), and might be a juvenile he, but I've decided she's a she. We have gender neutral bird bathrooms, so it's not really an issue. She is a genuine American sparrow, unlike the imported and rowdy brown bunch that frequents our feeding area and throws tantrums in the wisteria vine. Compared with those trim house sparrows, the eastern Towhee is fat. Hence, Gordita. I adore her. She never flies away in a panic, like the stupid sparrows - just hops confidentially about, looking for food. She has an ascending, inquisitive, cheeeeap? And she is all alone. She has been here since December.


In the coldest days of January when we entered the realms of deep freeze, I gave the birds a daily warm bath. First, I melted the frozen bath in the kitchen sink, then topped it up. I know. Crazy bird lady. I like to watch. Even if they are boring sparrows and starlings. They loved it.


The Frenchman would worry about them. That their feathers would get wet and that they would freeze in mid flight. I researched bird circulation. Their feet are complicated.


The blue jays and cardinals visit, too. I am so used to them that I take them for granted. So Gordita, the first of her kind I have seen in the city, remains special.

But happy Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Come spring, I will want to kill them, again. I am always threatening to turn them into pâté...

16 comments:

  1. There are countries without squirrels?

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    1. No, I like them but I could loan you my dog Addie who is a squirrel juggernaut much to my husband’s dismay! He presides over several little funerals during the summer.

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  2. We've had a gorgeous Easter Towhee visiting us this year, too, especially during the truly frigid snap. Had to get out my bird book to make the ID. It's such a pretty bird and, compared to the sparrows, huge!

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    1. I didn't know what ours was, either...

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  3. Gordita is lovely. I get the occasional male, but they are not as subtlely pretty as she. Hope she returns soon.

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  4. Squirrels no longer plunder our birdfeeders, but they love to torment our long-haired dachshund, wiggling their ears at him through our living room windows. Gordita is beautiful in every way. I hope that she returns in time to enjoy some of your wheatgrass. I'll have to watch for an Eastern Towhee during my next stay in Brooklyn. (I saw my first Cardinal there 2.5 years ago.) Thank you for those daily warm baths you gave your backyard birds...they obviously enjoyed them. If you are a crazy bird lady, then that is an honorific. Wishing we could send some of our abundant water to Cape Town, Leslie

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    1. I had not realized that cardinals were East Coast birds! Yeah, every time I run a tap I think of Cape Town :(

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  5. The squirrels at my house are FAT! They figured out how to get in the bird feeders. I keep hoping they will get fat enough not to make the jump! Anyway, I haven’t seen your bird. What I have a lot of are woodpeckers. Several varieties but every once in a blue moon, two pileated visit. They are huge!

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    1. I'd love to have a woodpecker! But we don't have big trees between the houses on our block, only on the streets.

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    2. No you do not. Once they start adapting to the absence of trees by hammering their beaks into metal objects they are as cute and irritating as squirrels.

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    3. Really! They look for insects inside metal objects!?

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    4. When one is woken by the sounds of artillery complete with drummers and assault rifles the reason becomes irrelevant.

      I think they just figured out that drumming against metal carries sound farther. In all seriousness they are a marvel of evolution.

      http://mentalfloss.com/article/30731/why-dont-woodpeckers-get-brain-damage

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  6. Gordita is beautiful! She's like a bird ball with a beak LOL

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