Monday, March 25, 2013
homage to a grey squirrel
The turkeys are back,shuffling up the path from the river to our yard.They all leave just before hunting season and where they go is a mystery.We had four today pecking at the corn that my husband puts out for the squirrels, to keep them from the bird feeders.Ha!
We have two feeders,one with sunflower seeds and the other mixed seed and 6 suet cages that are strung up high to keep the raccoons from stealing them and hiding them in the woods.They are masters at opening the cages in their leisure and eating every greasy morsel.Migrating birds and winter birds are in abundance to my husband's delight.This great plenty of winged creatures also has attracted hawks, large and small.
One afternoon a few years ago, I was summoned to look out the window by an unearthly racket,screaming blue jays.There on the lawn ,trapped by a big hawk, was one of their fellows.I was horrified and ran out the door.The jay flew into the trees and the hawk grumbled off.This scene has happened a few more times.Sometimes,the hawk comes up empty taloned and just sits on a post and looks around.They fall out of the sky with such speed that the birds are paralyzed and many times caught.
But yesterday something so remarkable happened, I couldn't catch my breath.I looked out to see a tan sharp shinned hawk, a smallish bird , on the ground and crushed under his talons was a small black bird.I couldn't tell what it was.The hawk just crouched there looking around.To my right, I saw a grey squirrel.Usually, the squirrels will either ignore a hawk and keep eating the corn or if it seems too big for their comfort,they flatten themselves against tree bark and watch.
This squirrel was closely observing the sharp shin, and he moved closer to drink some water from a puddle ,eyes fixed on the hawk.Then, he ran at it and the hawk let go.The red winged blackbird flew toward the pines but was caught in flight and the hawk blazed away with it into the sky.
What unfolded in seconds,tells my heart that the grey squirrel saw a fellow creature in trouble and tried to help.I can think of no other reason for what I saw.And it almost worked.
Think of this the next time you don't slow down for a squirrel darting in front of your car.