Start the morning with a squirrel in the house, and the day can only improve.
It all began when I glanced out the kitchen window and spotted the squirrel parked in the middle of the feeder, snorking down bird seed. Anybody who's ever seen the Disney cartoons featuring Donald Duck and the chipmunks knows how this story goes. The apoplectic home owner tries unsuccessfully to evict some rodents who are under the mistaken impression that they're cute. Long story short, mayhem ensues, along with bad language and property damage.
You'd think I'd have learned by now to just let the danged squirrels have the food, but no-o-o-o-o. I do not spend $10 a week to provide gourmet bird chow (containing dried cherries, pecans, and peanuts!) for some obnoxious relative of the rat. So I went onto the deck to shoo away the squirrel, forgetting to close the door behind me. A lively chase followed, ending with the disheartening sight of the squirrel disappearing into the bowels of the house. This, of course, meant war.
Fortunately at this point I decided to start using my allegedly superior human brain1 and out-think the little beggar. I opened the front and back doors and grabbed a broom, praying that the squirrel wouldn't head upstairs to the bedrooms. (See, that's the kind of incisive thinking that our species is noted for. When in doubt, pray, and then resort to violence.) Bedrooms... BEDROOMS! I ran pell mell upstairs, broom in hand, slammed shut the bedroom and bathroom doors, then thundered back downstairs and tried to figure out where the heck the squirrel was. I prodded and swatted various pieces of furniture with the broom and waiting for the sound of scampering feet. It was in the middle of all this prodding and swatting that a second squirrel, apparently attracted by the open door, stepped inside to see what was goin' down.
The cockatiels found it all highly entertaining. They long ago figured out that the The Big Ugly Featherless Bird Who Thinks It's The Flock Leader periodically engages in behaviour they find inexplicable. Apparently this is what a Flock Leader does, though, so when strange behaviour threatens to erupt, they leave me to it and settle in to watch. Occasionally they encourage me by screaming; this is not always helpful, especially when one is trying to hear scampering rodent feet. I yelled at the birds to pipe down, which convinced them that The Big Ugly was really getting into whatever she was doing, so they screamed even louder.
God knows what the squirrels thought. No doubt they had started their morning by grabbing what they thought would be a quick breakfast, and now they found themselves in the middle of military action (or perhaps an opera by Wagner). Fortunately squirrels are opportunistic little so-and-so's, and they beat a quick retreat via the open door. At least I think that is what happened. After a few minutes of walloping furniture and shushing the birds, I found no sign of squirrels or other nosy wildlife, so I gave up and closed the doors. The cockatiels were disappointed that the game was over.
This wasn't the first time I'd dealt with terrorist squirrels. A few years ago the squirrels on my university campus went bonkers. Groups of them would gather in trees, sitting quietly2 and watching students make their way to classes. Often they would drop black walnuts onto passers-by. Or groups of squirrels would race through the trees, barely stopping when one of them fell to the ground3. One morning a squirrel fell right at my feet as I walked across campus. Did you see that little squirrel?' I heard someone behind me say. 'He fell right out of that tree.' Fell my foot, thought I to myself. That was a suicide squirrel that missed its target.
The kamikaze university squirrels are the small Grey Squirrel variety. The ones that live behind my house, though, are much bigger Red Squirrels, which is why I get so ticked when they raid the bird seed. These fat things belong on the dinner table (as the entrée, not a guest) where they could feed your average family for a couple days; there's no way they need to eat the birds' breakfast. So the guerrilla warfare continues.
It's a quiet evening. I haven't heard any crashes or skittering of rodent feet downstairs, so I assume the squirrels are gone. Still, I can't help looking over my shoulder. For all I know, they're still in the house, watching as I type this, scheming and plotting the eventual overthrow of the Two-Legged Broom-Wielding Monsters. They're just waiting until I go to bed to call all their mangy, flea-bitten buddies and take over the house. At 2:03am I'll wake suddenly and listen intently to the faint sound of little rodent feet sneaking up the stairs to the bedrooms...
Nah, that's just silly....
|DeTh 2 UuMAnz !!!|
-- Heavy Nutz da Killa, 1st Lieutenant, Squirrel Liberation Brigade