Friday, May 30, 2008

Too much excitment...

Man alive, it's getting a bit too exciting around here.

Just now, I was in the garage, going through mail, tossing stuff in the recycling bin, when I heard a terrible ruckus out front. I dropped everything and RAN. My first thought was CORRAL THE CATS! They were already on alert on the front porch, trying to figure out what was making the noise. Me, too. I assumed another bird. Wrong! Something furry hid behind the potted succulent.

It was a black rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus), screaming bloody murder.

I grabbed the cats, tossed them in the garage, and closed the doors. Then I ran around to the front yard again. The squirrel had dashed along the house and stopped in front of the chain-link fence near my window.

"You can't stay here," I said, "go across the street or over there." I motioned to some nearby oaks in our adjacent lot. Like it was gonna understand me. But I do that–talk to animals, bugs and spiders. I crept a little closer. Then it sped through the fence. I tore back around to the back yard, just in time to see the little guy scamper across the field to the neighbors' woodpile. I sure hope it fares well. We've got PLENTY of eastern fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) around here, but I'd never seen a rock squirrel in our yard before. Another first.

Back to how exciting it's been lately in our Wildscape.

Yesterday, I returned home from running some errands and spotted Gabe, one of our two boy cats, eyeing something in a front planter box. I thought UH OH, THE ANOLE! Then I glimpsed a bird in the garage window. Dang. Another one got stuck in there!

So I rounded up the cats, opened the second garage door, and grabbed a towel. The bird–a juvenile white-winged dove–had flown into another window and sat dazed on the garage floor. I was just gonna reach down and gently pick it up, but then it came to and flew out the garage door. Thank goodness!

That's the fourth bird to get stuck in the garage. We've had two hummingbirds and one wren. About two weeks ago, I nearly didn't get the wren out. We have a high ceiling in the garage, and it was TOUGH to catch it. I finally got it to grab onto the net I was borrowing, and then I walked it to an open back door. Off it flew, into the trees. Talk about relieved–we BOTH were.

I've lived in this house six years and never had a bird get into the garage. The first one was a hummer last year. James says that's because we have more feeders and bird baths in the yard now to attract birds.

And squirrels, too, it seems.

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