Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Having a bad tail day.

The squirrels are having a bad tail day.

Mars pointed this out to me when I was trying to figure out which one of our resident tree rodents, four of whom were gathered around, had been waiting patiently but patently for me to perform my morning bird bath / bird feeder ritual. (Feel free to substitute the word "squirrel" for the word "bird" throughout this essay.) It was, I thought, the same one who has been on deck every forenoon for the past few weeks, ever since our major bird feeder went on sabbatical due to a household shortage of two liter soda bottles - those containers forming the holding tank for the sunflower seeds on which all of our yard pets (feathered and furred) dine.

The dearth of two thousand cc plastic containers was caused directly by the violence done to these canteens (in their roles as seed holders) by some of the very animals that depend upon them to supply a significant portion of their daily diet. I suspect you know which ones. Go figure!

We have tried to use each episode of feeder-absence as a life lesson to these quick-learning rodents - but apparently to no avail.

The most recent enforced rationing lasted two weeks until we purchased and consumed several bottles of flavored seltzer. (We deliberately took our time hoping that the message would somehow sink in.) During that time I continued, each morning to replenish the seeds in our other two smaller feeders and to refresh the water in the birdbath. I am told the latter act is a good thing to do even though in nature, which is where the bathers live, this does not happen to the natural soaking sites - ever.

About the third morning that I was doing this I noticed one particular squirrel creeping towards the tree that houses these three objects. And a few days later he actually paced on one of the branches during the time between liquid and solid refills. This behavior continued throughout the great bottle famine and continues today.

He was identifiable to me by his ratty, i.e. relatively hairless, tail. And this morning as we left for our health club I went to point him out to Mars only to discover that because of the ongoing rainfall all of the rodent yard pets were similarly coiffed. Then Mars made her observation about "bad tail days".

If the local meteorologists are correct there are several more days like this to come. I hope that the resultant hindquarters humiliation doesn't set off the squirrels in the same way that some humans are moved to act by similar follicle failures. We only have five bottles to spare at the moment.

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