My Squirrelly Family

No, not my sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins or godchildren. It’s actually a real live squirrel! On our sixth-floor balcony!

She must have taken up residence over the winter. I had no idea. Sometimes this squirrel would take naps on top of the trellis by the planter. No clue why. Now I know why. 

Cleaning up the planting boxes, all of a sudden this squirrel jumped out. Her claws cut my eyebrow. She bounded off my head. Then bounced off the porch railing onto the garage roof 50’ down. Finally rolling onto the driveway, she ran into the bushes.  

But I heard faint noises from the box, then pulled out planting bags I had stored there. Our next door neighbor Terry heard all this commotion and came over.

“There’s a squirrel tail hanging out of that bag!” Terry exclaimed as he walked onto the balcony. “What are you going to do?”

I pitched the bag off the balcony, as fast as I could. Didn’t want him running inside. The rogue squirrel must have eaten holes into the material. Must have made a nice toasty nest.

We looked into the planting box. The squirrel had filled it with plastic leaves from a now-bare tree on Terry’s balcony. Below this detritus, a tiny black tail wiggled.

Find a small box! Cathy just came back from her volunteer job to help find a rag to help grab the little squirrel.

Which I did, then popped the baby into a cardboard box. “Let’s put this into a bag,” I said, being a bit wary of any possibility of a baby squirrel getting loose and running wild into the apartment building.

Holding tight onto the black plastic bag, we took the elevator down. Finally I took the box over to a big oak tree by our parking lot. Cautiously I laid our box up against the bark. First time to see a tree, the little fellow knew right what to do as it scurried up toward a branch.

Then we walked back to check out the bag. All eaten up, the material had the dirty fake leaves, chewed up bag material, bird seed, more funky junk and two baby squirrels. One dead, the other hiding as much as possible.

The live one we carried over to be with its sibling by the tree. The casualty was buried in the vines. A stray cat came by sniffing, checking for snacks.

The next day a squirrel is back on our balcony. Is it looking for her babies or just eating our birds’ food? Probably the finches, doves and sparrows knew what was going on in those planting bags all winter. 

Have the birds been as surprised as us by squirrels climbing brick walls? Just enough of a ledge offers a tuck-pointed wall to climb. A friend speculated a six-story brick building is no more scary than a 100-foot oak. Almost guaranteed bird food snacks must be a nearly ultimate incentive for the bushy tails.

Motherhood runs wild. Our apartment is batting over 660% in squirrel reproduction support. Where do they all come from? Life asserts itself.

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