Thursday, April 9, 2009

You Gotta' Love the Squirrels

...especially the ones that live in red-shouldered hawk territory.

I watch them go about their activities as though the hawks aren't even there. Other times my eyes scan a tree limb several times before I even notice the squirrel clinging to the branch. They can be so still that I think they may be sleeping. Nothing moves, not even the eyes blink.

On my last visit with the hawks, I spotted a squirrel frozen in place on a limb just under the nest. The female hawk had just landed on a pine limb nearby. I could hardly believe he had gotten himself in that predicament. He was safe for the moment. The female had finished her meal and her mind was on other matters. The male was incubating and couldn't see him. A few seconds later he slinked down the trunk, definitely minimizing attention.
People often complain about squirrels that raid their birdfeeders, ruin fruit by taking one bite or dig in flowerbeds. But I have always enjoyed them and now I have an even deeper appreciation.

Female squirrels may raise two nests a season, numbering as many as eight young, combined. The first brood of squirrel youngsters are moving about while the hawks are feeding their young. The second brood of squirrels are leaving the nest just as the hawk fledglings are learning to hunt. How perfect is that?
And I don't mean that unkindly, favoring one species over another. I mean that nature has provided for the predator as well as the prey.
While I wait for hawk activity, I enjoy the squirrels. They move about with a perfect combination of alertness and oblivion, an awareness level that allows them to live and thrive right along side skillful predators.
If you love hawks, you've gotta' love the squirrels, too.
Ink and watercolor sketches in 5x7 Holbein Multi-Drawing sketchbook.

6 comments:

  1. I love squirrels too, Vickie--I have as much fun watching their antics as the birds'! Beautiful sketches...lively and alert little faces.

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  2. Vickie, I sure have been enjoying your hawk visits and all you have been sketching and painting. Ilove watching the squirrels in my back yard. At times they get chased through the canopy by crows if they get to close to their nest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Kate! I so admire your work, your sketches, paintings and your books. Its nice to have your comments!

    Hey, Toni. Crows are something, aren't they? I've seen them harrass the hawks. But didn't know they chased squirrels, too! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your phoebe sketch. Your art has such a unique quality all your own.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was a neat post - and especially insightful - I enjoyed every word as well as your sketches and watercolors - just so darn neat, Vickie!

    ReplyDelete
  5. ...loved the post and the squirrel drawings and paintings!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love squirrels too! Even at the feeders.
    Your artwork makes an especially nice story-telling touch.
    Thanks for posting about squirrels.

    ReplyDelete

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Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham