Monday, September 26, 2005

Look up

Each September some seem surprised at the “disappearance” of the squirrels. Those rodents that pilfer our birdfeeders and seem bent on running under our tires are suddenly gone from sight.

The squirrels haven't really disappeared. It is harvest season and, hidden in the leaves of oaks, beeches and hickories, squirrels are overhead, gathering ripe nuts fresh off the branch. Yes, they consider your birdfeeder a second-rate source of food. Fresh nuts will always win out.

The puzzlement over the “lack” of squirrels points out a failing many of us have as backyard naturalists. We don't look up.

Dozens of creatures stare down at us as we go for walks, but we rarely see them because our eyes are turned to the ground. Look up and you may see a raccoon mother leading her babies along a limb, a flock of wild turkeys sunning themselves, or an owl eyeing dinner. Look up and you may see a Sharp-shinned Hawk in hot pursuit of a blackbird or a pack of crows mobbing a fleeing Great Horned Owl.

Not only life, but adventure can be found overhead.

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