This has never happened to me before, and it tickles me. I put out food for a native Douglas squirrel, and within five minutes he was on it. I can’t say how many times I have put out seed for some ground-foragers, birds not squirrels, who seemed down on their luck, only to have to sweep up the seeds in a few hours so as not to draw rats.
Almost a month ago, when the Big-Leaf Maple dropped its seed, I watched through our kitchen window as a Douglas feasted on them. The little russet squirrel came back for days and ate its fill, showing me its perfectly groomed butternut-tan belly.
Then the rains came. I went out after a week or so and looked closely. Some of the leftover seed was now starting to rot on the ground, and the squirrel wasn’t coming around. I gathered up the seed that had fallen in clumps rather than separating, high up, to wing away. Oh, my husband said, the clumps didn’t just fall. The squirrels cut them by the clump and let them drop for easy later harvest.
Anyway, I tucked a bucket of them under the barbecue cover to dry off and keep. Today I pulled the bucket out and sprinkled the seed under the maple. When I saw my spunky friend so soon after I withdrew, I was more than tickled—’Doug,’ I read your book! What I didn’t expect was that this would go a long way toward dispelling my feelings of impotence, post-election.
No, the squirrel is not in the photo—I didn’t think of the camera in time. But this is the seed, the tree, and on the tree a licorice fern like we get to enjoy at this time of year.