It’s that time of year again. Autumn is right around the corner and critters are stocking up for the wintry cold of Minnesota. In the process they’re creating lots of entertainment for us. I purchased some squirrel food to deter them from invading the bird feeder, but as soon as they polish that off, they head straight for the bird food.
Actually we don’t discourage them from being around. I mean we provide meals and lodging after all. What do we get in return? A lot of entertainment is sure to follow. In fact this year, we’re looking forward to the Squirrelympics events, including the balance beam, walking the wire, 20 yard dash, gymnastics, weight lifting and survival techniques. Can you picture the scene? The squirrels have been given numbered t-shirts and are ready to roll. A team of judges (birds, cats and an assortment of other critters including us) are equipped with score cards which will determine the winner of each event.
Here comes #1 FLIP – His gymnastics on the bird feeder pole are astounding. He reaches the pinnacle of the feeder, attaches his rear feet to the roof and hangs backwards and upside down to get his food. When he’s had enough, he does a triple flip down to the ground. Oops, better get a helmet next time, Flip. Look at that five of the judges have voted a perfect ten while the other five gave failing marks for the descent. Oh well, it could be a bronze at least. Here comes #2 STUBBY – This little fellow lost his tail last year. We didn’t think he’d be back to participate, but there he is. He will be walking the wire, carrying a small branch with a walnut on each end. This is a balancing act to behold. Since Stubby is minus his tail he has to rely on pure grit and determination to get him across the wire. And he does it with ease, finishing his routine by placing a nut in each cheek. A perfect score for Stubby. That is all but one of the judges. He seems to be wearing a squirrel tailed hat. Hmmmm. Don’t worry though, Stubby finishes with an 8. Highest score so far.
NUTSY is up next, wearing #3. This little critter is really fast. He is sure to do well in the 20 yard dash. But wait, Nutsy has just discovered a pile of acorns near the starting line. Will he be able to overcome his natural hunger? Will he go on to prove he’s the fastest squirrel on four legs? There goes the starting gun and he’s off. Those acorns will have to wait for another day. Wait a minute, he’s turning around. He’s running the wrong way. Oh no, he’s heading for the acorns. Come on, Nutsy, you can beat this. You’re a much better squirrel than that. Oh, well, he’s not listening to my warning. He loses to his cousin, FLASH, who has beaten him by 20 yards. Looks like a Gold for #4. He’s not even going to wait for his ribbon. He just did a 180 degree turn and is headed for the acorn pile. Too bad! Nutsy has won the really big prize.
And so it goes in our backyard at this change of seasons. Yes, we name the animals that pass through our yard. We’re very creative after all. We also have nothing better to do.