Tuesday, January 10, 2006

They're ba-ack!

On a scale of one to ten with one being horrible and ten best, the weather here yesterday and today rates an eleven. The skies have been clear blue, the temperature in the low 70s with little if any humidity.

That gave me a chance to start trying to clean up the branches and limbs that came down during last week's storms — If there was a futures market for mud I'd be a zillionaire. — and with temperatures between 20 and 50 over the weekend, it was just to danged cold.

Vehicles whiz by my house endlessly now, on what used to be a quiet road out in the boonies. The only thing more numerous than the cars and trucks have been the damned squirrels.

They're everywhere. Hordes of ‘em, and I'm sure they all females, have just dropped another litter and they're all already preggers again.

I never cared one way or the other about squirrels because they had plenty of room to roam. They were periodically bothersome but not constant pests.

Then the developers started knocking down all of the woods.

Last year was pure hell, until a couple of other displaced critters also moved into the neighborhood: Mr. Hawk and his Lady.

I knew they were close but I never did figure out where they had nested. Aside from my gratitude to them for their diet, which definitely brought the squirrel population under control, they were an absolute joy to watch whether flying around my yard or soaring overhead. Then one day I noticed the two weren't alone. Where there had been two floating against the sky, now there were a few more with them. Two, perhaps three? Smaller. A next generation, I thought smiling.

Then the signs went up: BEWARE OF TRUCKS ENTERING THE ROAD.

That's when pine in the 200 acres in back of me started going down the roadway, and suddenly the hawks were gone.

At least it wasn't a clear cut back there. They took the mature pine and left the smaller ones to continue growing. For how long, who knows, but now that they don't even have there to live, I guess all of the homeless squirrels came here.

They're everywhere. Into everything, although they haven't gotten into the attic this time.

Yet.

With the weather as good as it is I was outside working this morning, and over the chitters of the squirrels everywhere I heard rustling in branches close to the ground, about ten feet away from me.

I knew it was another nervy squirrel. Probably two. Maybe three dozen, all pregnant.

A little lady hawk came out to scratch through the manure pile, about six feet away from where I was standing.

She saw me. She knew I was there. She just didn't care.

I assume the Grade A earthworms in the pile were far more interesting to her than a stupid human standing there with a silly grin on her face.

Eventually she flew away but not far, landing on one of the fences.

(It was at this particular moment the squirrels in the trees and everywhere around me became a bit agitated.)

And there she sat, her head corking around.

I went inside to get my camera knowing she'd be gone by the time I got back.

Nope. There she still was.

I took a series of shots slowly moving a step or two closer each time, knowing sooner or she'd fly away if I got too close.

I didn't want to chase her away, but I also kept wondering how close she'd let me come before she did.

When she hopped to the top of the post I backed off, but then with a flap or two of her wings she sailed away.

About 15 feet, onto a branch.

Which is where a male was perched.

He's not big enough to be "Mr. Hawk." That guy was HUGE.

How long this youngster had been there, I dunno. He might have been on that branch all along.

I don't think so, though. He didn't give a hoot about me. He was far more focused on . . .

It was at this particular moment the squirrel collective lost their freakin' minds.

Hello, little hawks. Make yourselves at home. You're more than welcome to stay.

There's always plenty to eat.

1 Comments:

Blogger ABFreedom said...

LOL .... yup. the joys of nature and watching how it contro;s itself. No worries, the Hawk family will have everything balanced out in no time.

8:15 PM  

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