As of today I have a new nutty buddy at Council Point Park.
I don’t think Parker, nor his furry friends, will be too awfully upset or jealous; after all, just how many peanuts can one cardinal eat anyway?
You’ll recall in yesterday’s blog post, in between whining about the sparrows and robins, that I mentioned seeing a beautiful cardinal on my walk. That cardinal was sitting on a low branch, and, I stopped short of taking its picture since it would take too long to put away the peanuts, dig for the camera and take the shot.
But, from his perch in the tree, that male cardinal watched me feeding the squirrels and he took notice.
Today, in the same location, once again I was dispensing peanuts to the squirrels, when the cardinal suddenly appeared on that low branch again. I said “wait a minute … here, have a peanut or something, I want to take your picture.” So, on a whim, I tossed out a few peanuts to the side of the asphalt path, hoping they would interest him. I know blue jays love peanuts, but I thought cardinals were more into sunflower seeds. Evidently not.
First, that beautiful bird hopped down …
… then ambled toward the first peanut.
He cracked open the shell, getting peanut chaff on that orangey-red bill. He stayed put long enough for me to get a few photos, then he was done posing and took the remaining peanut “to go” and flew away.
I know this cardinal will be watching for me tomorrow and thereafter. Once you feed a wild animal or bird just one time, and it knows you mean them no harm, they are your pal. We’ll establish a routine if possible.
Of course the squirrels, my original nutty buddies, were out and about as well. I got a few photos of them enjoying their peanuts. Here’s one of Parker:
Like the cardinal, the squirrels often take their peanut “to go” and I am amused, when they grab it from the ground, scale the tree, and sit on a branch munchin’ away. All this effort to eat ONE peanut in peace.
Then they run down the tree again for another peanut.
Sometimes you get a two-fer … one squirrel in the tree; one on the ground.
I walked around the entire Park once, then the first loop one more time. At one point in the walk, I felt a presence behind me. I turned around and three squirrels were trailing at my heels. I was sure I had fed them already the first time around, but I jollied along like it was the first time I saw them today. I tossed out a few peanuts so they scampered right over.
Sometimes they hide their goodies. Do they think I am blind to seeing this sight as I stroll along the trail?
The sunny morning more than made up for the chilly temperatures. It was about 26 degrees when I left the house. Very few portions of the Ecorse Creek had a light skim of ice, yet the ducks and geese were scarce. The heron has been at large for several weeks now, so it was those peanut-loving squirrels and cardinal which gave me a smile during today’s five-mile walk. Yup, a peanut here or there and soon you’ve got a feathered or furry friend for life.
My Park pals reminded me of years ago and two retired male neighbors who lived across the street. The first gentleman, Gerry, was stuck in the rut of too many years of getting up early. He retired mid-Summer, so he’d take his cup of coffee and sat out on the front porch to read the morning newspaper. I’d see him every morning when I left for work. There was one squirrel hanging around on that first day of retirement bliss, so Gerry went inside and got some cookies for him. This soon became a morning ritual, but, if it rained, or Gerry decided to sleep in, when he finally stepped outside to fetch the newspaper, there was the squirrel pacing back and forth on the cement ledge in front of the picture window, wearing a perturbed look. Then, Gerry’s next-door neighbor retired and Andy liked to tinker in his wood shop that was in the garage. An inquisitive squirrel meandered in there one day, so Andy went into the house and got a treat for him. From that day forward, that squirrel came by every morning. He’d plant himself by the garage side door waiting until Andy came out of the house and headed to the garage, then he’d scamper over to meet him at the garage door. For both retirees, a relationship between man and beast began and lasted many more years.