Saturday, September 5, 2009

Going Nuts!

While I'm washing the lunch dishes today, I spotted this squirrel having his own lunch just beneath the window. When I watched him carefully I would see that he was combing old maple seeds out of the grass with his paws. He'd quickly lift the seed to his mouth and eat it with relish. But this shot seems to show him gnawing on something larger than a mere maple seed. The yard is full of acorns (we have two oaks) and this looks more of that size.

But acorns there are this year ... and in abundance. It's not a banner year but still there are plenty lying around ready for the squirrels to harvest. Most are still green when they fall but there is some variety to the coloration. While the oak out front (near Clayton Road and beside our driveway) drops larger, mature acorns, an oak by the henhouse seems to produce a smaller variety.

This squirrel (same as in the first picture) is a female (see the teats?) and her mouth seems muddied by the frantic searching among the grass. After this picture was taken, she went to the bird feeder and drank long and hard, balancing herself with her tiny fingers.

I enjoy the squirrels in the winter, too, when they try to find their buried treasure. While they're now busy placing the acorns underground, they'll get hungry in January and remember the meals they've tucked away. I've seen them part the snow searching for them.
Often times, as the many seedling oaks tell in the spring, they'll forget where they buried them. Who can blame them when the landscape turns to snow and ice? But we have more oaks to thank for their forgetfulness.