Friday, June 20, 2008

cirque back yard

May I introduce the stars of my back yard circus? This scrub jay and squirrel have been entertaining me for the past month with their aerial antics.

Apparently, my boxwood hedge must be the equivalent of an avian buffet. The scrub jay shows up every day to find whatever may have hatched and matured. I suspect most often, he is after spiders.

I wish I could catch his technique on camera. He darts up at that hedge in a short burst and swoops immediately to the ground to pick up any morsels he did not pick off in flight.

But even the jay looks like an amateur acrobat when compared with my new-found squirrel friend. When the camellias start blooming, squirrels the block over show up to eat the buds. The outer limbs of camellias are far to fragile to support a squirrel. But gravity is no bar to squirrels finding food.

This particular squirrel has discovered that he can reach the outer buds by hanging from my telephone line with his back feet. I caught him one day hanging by only one foot. Of course, when the camera came out, he started acting as if an OSHA inspector was prowling nearby.

Back in March, in a comment to one of my posts, I confessed one of my childhood secrets to Babs: When I was in the 7th grade, I wanted to become a veterinarian so I could save up enough money to buy a circus.

For childhood secrets, it does not rank up there with being a junior arsonist or a violin virtuoso. But it has the simple virtue of being true.

My love for animals came at a young age. My brother and I had almost every imaginable creature as pets -- some several times over.

Plus I had curiosity. And this is the darker secret. I toted home several road kill animals and performed autopsies on them in our garage. I think I always imagined myself as the Jonas Salk of quadrupeds.

I never did become a veterinarian -- and my only circus is the one in my back yard. But that is circus enough for me in this moment.


Billie Mercer said...

You are going to love living in Mexico because you find delight in the simple things in life. Just watching squirrels and blue jays out the window. I love watching the birds come in for a sip of water or a bath, maybe both, at the fountain and even sitting and watching the gold fish swim.

Anonymous said...

What a great photo catching the squirrel performing such a daring act. Sign him up for the next traveling Cirque Du Soleil show.

Babs said...

Delightful! Squirrels are aerial acrobats if there ever was one! Now when you move to Mexico, you can volunteer at alllllllll the animal rescue shelters. Here in San Miguel we have Amigos de Animales that go out into the campo and town and spay and neuter. In addition we have SPA which is a shelter and they do an excellent job.
Here's the list of animals raised in our house by the kids - of course a myriad of cats and dogs....tarantulas, scorpions, hog nosed snakes, opposum, gerbil, cockatiel, hamster, rabbit, mice (in a cage), and various injured injured owl.....geez, it reads like we DID either have a circus, a vet clinic or an animal shelter. Never a dull moment in OUR house! And I loved EVERY minute of it....oh and I forgot the turtles!

Steve Cotton said...

Billie -- One of the things I am looking forward to is a more simple life. Of course, I culd have that here in Oregon. Combining retirement with a change of venue should help set the mood, though.

Jackie -- The same squirrel was in the back yard this morning taunting the dog, who is too slow and old to care much about squirrels any more.

Babs -- It sounds as if your household was similar to ours. I remember smuggling garter snakes into e house in my cowboy boots when I was in the 4th grade. Snakes have always been one of my favorite pets.