Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a flying piece of american cheese, it's my friends the flying squirrels!!!!
They came back! I brought peanuts out to the maple tree (also known as Flying Squirrel World) on a night when there was not alot of wind or snow. I was putting them out for the FSqs because I had seen one on the tree earlier this winter, for just a moment - If I had not known of them I would not have known what I saw.
I wanted to encourage them to hang around so I had peanuts prepared. Well, I stood there for ten minutes, playing with peanuts, holding the shells in my hands and cracking them, like I used to my first winter when I met them. And before I knew it, I heard the scritch scritch scritch of microscopic nails on the bark, and saw the tiny dark eyes looking down on me, wondering if it was safe. One had come when I called!!! I couldn't believe it! The first year, he eventually came quickly and happily when I "called" by scrunching peanuts.
I stood still...my heart beating...holding my breath....my eyes wide open so I wouldn't miss anything.
I held a peanut out, leaning my hand against the tree and pointing it around the back so he would not have to come too close to get it, but it was too soon to be hand feeding. (Was able to do it the first year - even touched a tail once)
So I changed tactics, and put out a small pile of peanuts in the crooks of two lower limbs and stood still and waited....and waited....and waited....AND before I knew it there were TWO flying squirrels, not just one!
They scurried in and out, back and forth. They are so fast, it is like they pop in and out. They would stop just close enough to see and smell the peanuts but not close enough for me to grab them (not that I would...just thinking what they might be considering)
There was one that seemed brave - or perhaps was younger and more susceptible to peanuts - who did eventually grab one. He sat still for a moment, contemplating the best way to carry this enormous thing...scratched the shell with his teeth, then opened wide and carried it off like a dog carries off a bone. He ran up, up, up the tree and took a flying leap into the open air...gliding toward the ancient pine tree in the front yard. They are white bellied and the porch light shows off their white tummies as they fly. They are also square when they spread their "wings". I think they look like flying pieces of American cheese.
These wild creatures make me so happy.
When I read about them, it always says how hard it is to see them in the wild. Our local zoo has a Flying Squirrel display - don't think I was ever able to actually see a squirrel in there...but somehow I got my very own FS neighbors to come over and visit.
I wonder if they see me as some kind of benign, peanut hoarding Godzilla.