Having numerous trees in our backyard brings shade, huge piles of fall leaves, a variety of birds and, of course, squirrels. Now squirrels are not only cute but very smart. When faced with a dilemma or challenge of any kind they have a great knack for figuring things out.
As the years went by, our younger trees closest to the bird feeder matured. The squirrels noticed and would climb to the tree to test branches along the way. They wanted to see which branch would most likely catapult them to the bird feeder. Once they found a branch they liked, they went out on a limb, bounced on it and hurled themselves toward the bird feeder like they were jumping off a diving board. It was funny to watch their faces when they missed and landed on the ground with a plop. I could almost hear them saying as they shook their heads looking up at the bird feeder, “Hey, what just happened here?” They would jump up, brush themselves off and then try the other tree, It took them most of the month, but they finally made their landing.
One year, we had a terrible ice storm. Several ice-covered branches fell from the trees. I was watching squirrels chase each other through the yard when one of them unexpectedly changed direction and ran up the first icy branch. Then he slid on his tummy, bottom-side first, down the other branch. Before I knew it, there was a group of squirrels lining up to join in the fun like a group of toddlers at the park.
Recently, we put up a suction-cupped feeder on the window. One of the biggest squirrels noticed, knocked it to the ground then ate up each seed. I tried putting the feeder in different places on the window but it was always knocked down. Then I tried putting it right in the middle of the window. Later, I heard strange scratching noises so I went to investigate. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Stuck on the screen of our backdoor, I saw the underside of a huge squirrel with its legs splayed out in four different directions. He was looking intently toward the window bird feeder. He hung motionless, gripping the screen with all his might, trying to figure out how he could get to the feeder. After several minutes, his paws began to slip and down he went. Ha! Ha! That will teach him! After a while he tried a different tactic. He climbed unto the air conditioner under the window, then took a short jump to the sill. As I watched, he actually tried to climb up the window. Too bad, he kept sliding down. With an OH! NO! expression on his little face, he slid down with no prize. That’s one challenge he has yet to figure out. It’s been months now since I’ve seen him. So now I just watch the birds enjoy their seeds smiling all the time.