Thursday, July 29, 2010

Flight Risk

Perhaps it was the feisty squirrel that terrified the young blue jay chick in its nest high above in the pine tree. Not yet ready to fledge, it nevertheless made a leap to earth where a neighbor found it with both the squirrel and a dog ready for some sport with the tiny ball of fluff. The mother circled, squawking and scolding; it's what we do when our chicks are in danger. The dog was secured in the cottage, the squirrel shooed away, but the nest was unreachable.

We knew the defenseless chick wouldn't last an hour on the ground. A new nest was fashioned from an old berry box filled with packing materiel and placed in the crotch of a nearby tree while the anxious mother flew from limb to limb above us. Our hope was that she would accept our intervention and feed her baby, but the little chick hurled itself, once again, to the ground and wobbled off through the grass. "A flight risk" my neighbor, a former Naval Air pilot, said. We replaced the chick in its nest, but a little while later, the berry box was empty. "Maybe the parents lifted the chick back to its nest" the pilot offered. Yes, I thought, that's exactly what I would do.


  1. Barbara, I find I have to write my own end to the story...

  2. You never know. Just the other day I was across the street talking to my neighbor. We took cover from the seen underneath the shade of his oak tree. Suddenly there was a big commotion and two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the limbs. The tree had just that week been pruned. That's the only explanation I could figure out. Because at what had been the juncture of a limb that had been cut, the two squirrels went airborne like Thelma and Louise. The smaller squirrel landed on top of the fatter squirrel and immediately scampered away. The bigger squirrel got up out of the street and while not scampering left under his own steam and there was no hint of accident left behind. John and I were amazed. Neither one of us had ever seen a squirrel fall from a tree before. I'm thinking they are both back in that nest that was high in the tree laughing about their afternoon tricks!

  3. home before dark ~ Thanks for your anecdote and an insight into the lives of squirrels. I found your story particularly interesting because I once had a squirrel drop out of a tree right in front of me while I was out walking. It was stunned for a few seconds and then ran off. I, on the other hand, nearly had a heart attack from the surprise!

    Rachel ~ It's a dear little thing, isn't it.


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