August 13, 2012

Friends in the yard

Squirrel and peanut. Match.
It's fun to walk around in my yard. Some of the creatures are too timid to be friendly, but I've definitely got a few pals out there. The entire flock of geese, about 75 or so at the moment, know me in the sense that they won't run from me. But only a few are actually pals. Remember the little one who followed me everywhere I went? I wrote about her last spring. She grew up, but never stopped that behavior. So I have a companion goose. It's fun. And of course, there's Milo, the finest goose who ever lived -- but I digress. This isn't a goose post. It's about squirrels.

There are five or six squirrels living on the property and I'm friendly with all of them. It's easy to make friends with a squirrel: just offer him a peanut. I do this all the time so the squirrels like and trust me. They'd never run away when they see me. But one thing they do intrigues me.

When I encounter one of them during a walk, he'll stop and stand on his hind legs, facing me. This position is maintained for about 30 seconds and then he continues on his way. This happens all the time. I swear they're telling me, "Thanks for the peanuts, big guy." I can see it in their stance: this is an expression of gratitude.

PS -- Squirrel facial expressions are complex and amazingly cute. I wish I could take a photo of my main squirrel friend but he's wary of cameras -- he's probably seen too many guns. We humans can be dangerous critters. Anyway, they're very cool. Anyone else made friends with a squirrel?

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