Friday, January 18, 2013
the squirrel whisperer
We call him the Squirrel Whisperer.
Most days (weather permitting, of course) we like to spend an hour or two walking around the forested paths of Point Pleasant Park. No matter the route it's inevitable we eventually make our way along the broad beach path where the ocean waves provide the kind of wild entertainment the North Atlantic is famous for. About half way we're given a choice to cut across the now icy snowfields around the remains of a decrepit wwII fort to the ploughed road or to follow the path as it narrows between the fort and the old gun emplacements. Yes, they did have concerns Halifax might be invaded by Nazi u-boats in 1942 but it seems they needn't have worried.
Anyway, as often as not when we walk along that confined space, we'll pause to watch the Squirrel Whisperer. Sometimes we see him in other areas of the park but most often we'll find him standing near a tree stump in that defile patiently holding out one unshelled peanut in his bare hand. Usually there's a dubious looking squirrel wondering if it should take a chance. It's kind of fascinating to watch the two of them as they measure each other's intentions. Hunger nearly always wins.
Once the weather gets cold I always carry my little bag of shelled peanuts and raw sunflower seeds but I tend to scatter them at the spot where we like to sit, the place where our crow friends expect us. The rest of the contents get deposited in an open feeder a few hundred yards further along. I like wild animals but I don't need to have them eat from my hand. When it comes down to it I'm probably as wary of them as they should be of us.
The Squirrel Whisperer has another point of view.. or maybe he likes being out there all day.
ps: Right now the temperature is noted as 8˚ feels like -20˚ with 30mph winds. Yes, we went for a walk but not to the park. I wonder if he did.