I was up late reading when, around midnight, I heard the bird feeder thump against the house. Our bird feeder hangs just outside the kitchen window so we can get close looks at the birds. When the feeder thumps the wall, day or night, it’s almost always either a day squirrel or a night squirrel (red or flying).
I got up to have a look, not having seen a flying squirrel all week. I turned on the outside light, opened the curtain, and there was one of the captivating creatures – all fluffy, with big, dark eyes – delicately feeding on the shelled sunflower seeds that we put out. As I stood there admiring this amazing animal just a couple of feet away on the other side of the glass, to my surprise a second squirrel stepped onto the feeder from the wall. And the two of them sat huddled together in close contact along their sides, having to all appearances a romantic dinner. I’ve never seen two of these squirrels getting along before, so I went to grab my camera to see if I could get a picture. I couldn’t; they left just as I removed the lens cap.
Eventually I gave up reading and went to bed – only to be awoken before dawn by Rose dribbling a basketball. It was not very good dribbling, and we don’t have a basketball, so this scenario seemed unlikely. But it was waking me up when I really wanted to keep sleeping. As I slowly admitted that I was not going to stay asleep, Rose, who had been wondering why I was thumping around downstairs, figured it out and said “There’s a moose on the deck.” And it was eating the bird seed and thumping the feeder against the wall. Damn moose.
This time I was able to get a couple of pictures. The shots through the window weren’t looking good, so I stepped out onto the deck. The moose at the feeder was a yearling, and its mother was close by. They didn’t seem to mind my being out there with them, only stepping away a little. And as soon as I went back inside, they came back to polish off those tasty sunflower seeds. I went back out, thinking my presence a second time might shoo them off. Nope. As soon as I went in, they came back again. So this time when I went out I spoke to them quietly and told them no, go away. Interestingly, my voice spooked them more than my silent presence did, and they loped off a little way. Then we had to do it all again one more time. The chickadees were up by now and irked that the big kids were getting all their food. They were hungry and mad in their little chickadee way, and Rose was laughing at it all, but soon enough we had the feeder refilled and coffee going and all was right with the world.