New kid in town.

So yesterday you saw a post about birds disgruntled with one another … who needs words when you see a pair of our feathered friends in silhouette and study their body language. Oops … did I just say birds have body language?  Their actions showed they were just like humans, bickering, but still ready to make amends, even though their mate (or friend) was not so amenable.  So that was a glimpse at discontent in the bird world … here’s a look at discontent between a somewhat ornery squirrel and a woman just offering kind words and jumbo unsalted peanuts.

Whenever I’ve strayed to other parks and am absent from my usual go-to nature nook for more than a few days, my favorite furry friend, Parker, will always approach me upon my return.  However, instead of him making a beeline toward me when I step onto the perimeter path, or, to begin dancing around my feet while I open up the Ziploc bag to fish out a few peanuts, I am meant to feel shamed  for not being there every day to dole out his treats.  Do I deserve such a chilly reception?  Hardly!  If there was a thought bubble over little Parker’s head, I’m sure it would read “great – you’re back; so have you been with other squirrels and forgotten about me?”

Recently, this squirrel featured above was at Council Point Park.  He looked a wee bit different than our Fox squirrels (like Parker), or the smaller, svelte and rather skittish gray or black squirrels.  This fellow resembled a Fox squirrel, but had tufted ears.  Here in Southeast Michigan we don’t have any of those cute, tufted-ear squirrels (also known as Abert’s squirrels), whose “hairdos” rival Albert Einstein on a bad hair day.

Hmm, so where did this furry-eared fellow come from?  Perhaps one of its parents might have scrambled into someone’s truck bed, traveled to the Mitten State, made itself at home here in SE Michigan, then looked for a mate.  That’s my guess, but who knows?  I even reached out to the DNR to ask if this was a type of Michigan squirrel that I’d never seen before.  They replied “Hi Linda – Thanks for contacting us.  Yes, this is indeed a Fox squirrel  To quote our staff “it just looks like he/she is having a bad hair day.” 

Just as I was curious about this furry friend’s appearance and those tufts of hair that grew around his ears, he seemed to be pondering my appearance as well.  “Should I trust her?”  She feeds the other squirrels and they are not scared of her.  Well, maybe I’ll take just one peanut, but I’ll back off if she comes too close to me!”

He reminded me of my grandfather who wore a painters cap on his head 99.9% of the time.  On a rare occasion when he removed it, perhaps to scratch his head, or for picture-taking after my grandmother said “Omer, take off that *&^% cap”, there were little tufts of hair over each ear, and the tips of his eyeglass frames were buried deep within that wispy gray hair, but I digress.

After some serious tail swishing and discernible angst over whether or not to proceed closer to the tall stranger who spoke softly and  offered peanuts that were nestled in the palm of her hand, his comfort level went up and he warily hopped onto the metal park bench and eventually noshed on those nuts …

… then dropped to the ground where I left him a little pile in exchange for these photos.

So, I left the Park that day, a collection of cute photos in place and a post bubbling around in my brain. 

The next day I returned and saw the same squirrel near that same park bench.  But instead of being personable, he had developed quite the attitude.  In fact,  it was as if we’d never interacted the day before.  He took one look at me and scrambled up into the tree where he glared down with disdain at my presence, and, on occasion, chattered angrily. 

So I similarly snubbed him, but in good faith left some peanuts on the ground.  I moved on while muttering “suit yourself – because of your attitude I won’t even waste my time naming you! ”

I turned around to find Parker taking in the whole scene, smug in the fact that he is still #1.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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44 Responses to New kid in town.

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen a squirrel like that one and he’s a cutie pie. Those ears, that coloring– he deserved all the peanuts you gave him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’ve never seen furry tufts on the ears either Ally, so I don’t think he was from around here. Yes, he was quite agreeable to pose for peanuts, though he had reservations about doing so the second time around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are the squirrel whisperer!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Joni says:

    That was a great ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joni! Parker is always around and that is why I missed him when I didn’t see him for a little while. He will horn in on the others when they are trying to run over for peanuts, so he probably was gleeful when he saw this other squirrel rebuff me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cute photos, Linda! Most of the squirrels here disappear during the warmer months. I’m not sure where they go, but I’m positive they’ll show up again once it cools off. I’m curious to see if the new guy on the block “moves in” for good!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rebecca says:

    He may have an attitude, but he’s very photogenic and gave you some very nice photos! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an Abert’s squirrel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      You are right about that Rebecca. Once he felt comfortable with me, he posed nicely. I’ve never seen an Abert’s squirrel either. I looked them up but those tassel-eared squirrels, as they are sometimes called, did not resemble this one in the least as they were quite small. This guy was in a category all his own.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ruthsoaper says:

    I can’t help but wonder if Parker hadn’t said something to the new kid. Like “stay away. She’s mine”. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      You make a valid point Ruth! Parker is possessive isn’t he? He sees peanuts and praise being heaped on an interloper! Knowing how dogs and cats who are family pets sometimes react to one another, especially when new, it would not surprise me in the least. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie says:

    Who knew that squirrels have bad hair days? I wish I would have taken photos of the squirrels that were around my son’s house in Oregon, Linda. They were very large, and their tails had faint rings, like raccoons. There is a big pine tree beside their house, so the squirrels were eating pine nuts. I wonder if they would like peanuts too! 🙂

    I bet you will have that squirrel eating out of your hand in no time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Interesting – I wonder why type of squirrels they are Laurie. I see the squirrels at Council Point Park eating pine nuts too – they leave pine cones littered all over the grass and perimeter path after they have chewed on the cones. Right now they are feasting on the small apples that are growing on the trees and mulberries and chokeberries, and they bury the peanuts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        We went to a restaurant and sat outdoors in Oregon under a maple tree. All of a sudden, maple keys began raining down on our table. A squirrel was sitting above us and throwing his discards down onto our table!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Nothing like taking liberties and being disrespectful when the humans are around!

        When we first moved to Michigan, my father ordered some tulip bulbs from Holland.
        He planted them the first Fall and in the Spring only one tulip came up. He found half-eaten bulbs all over the back and front yards when he did Spring thatching and yard clean-up. You would think that would have taught him not to plant tomatoes. My mom liked beefsteak tomatoes and he planted a row of tomato plants on the sunny side of the house in the backyard. The squirrels would ferret out the nicest ones, take a bite or two out of them and leave them sitting out in the sun to rot. They’re into pine nuts right now and leave the empty cones all over the walking path, along with the half-eaten apples from the tree.

        Like

  8. As we get older, a lot of us men get a lot more hair growing out of our ears. I think it’s so we don’t have to hear so much of our wives’ nagging. Cool new squirrel! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………so what are you going to name this new little critter??

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I ought to ask Parker to name him – Parker was enjoying that he still was number 1 among the Park squirrels. I don’t know Ann Marie – those furry tufts were out of the ordinary for sure.

      Like

  10. Another cutie but I think Parker is jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve never been close enough to a squirrel to look at its ears. You have sharp eyes, and so does Parker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, those fuzzy ears are not the norm for a Fox squirrel but I didn’t want to quibble with the DNR and their response that it was a “bad hair day”. Parker does not miss a trick at the Park – he must be the squirrel with the most seniority. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. susieshy45 says:

    Tuffy is a cutie and fat too. I love fat animals or my mother instinct kicks in and I want to fatten them up. He did not have a bad hair day- for heavens sake, the tufts were on his ears and not all over his hair. He is Parker’s cousin from the country side having come on a short vacation before he goes back to his fall work of collecting and storing peanuts.
    Wish there was a picture of Parker going green with envy too.
    Susie

    Like

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha Susie – you are right, that squirrel was not a squirrel with a bad hair day. They were furry tufts around his ears. I’ve never seen that before and yes, he was chubby as well. I like your theory Susie. I wish I had a picture of Parker too – I turned around and there he was near my ankles – smug little squirrel that he is. 🙂 Hope you found your kitties in good shape when you returned home – I’ll bet they all said to themselves “Susie’s home – let’s go!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        The six( dwindled down number) are all there. In the summer, they are all safe. It is in winter that they are at risk from the “cat poisoner” -usually it coincides with one of my travels, then they have to forage in the dust bins and trashcans outside and then someone does them in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s good they are there and could greet you – I wish there was a place to hide their food for safekeeping while you are gone in the Winter. I know my friend bought a device to use with her smartphone for rare times when she traveled. It was for dry cat food (and they have it for dog food as well, just a bigger device). She can control when the food dispenses into a dish from her smartphone so they never go hungry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        These cats are so spoiled they hate dry cat food, they love fresh or tinned only.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yup, you have spoiled them rotten Susie, but that’s okay as they have had a tough life. My friend Carol whom you/I consulted with on feeding the strays, does the same with the feral kitties and then she has angst when the raccoons and possums see/eat the food before the kitties do, especially during the Winter months. She’ll try dry food then to discourage the wildlife … she has a constant battle with wildlife in her backyard. The deer are eating her hostas and berry-producing plants and also her birdseed by tipping the hanging feeders upside down – the deer are smart! How did your garden fare this Summer and while you were gone the last six weeks?

        Like

      • susieshy45 says:

        The garden is as best as i tcan be- considering all factors- it is more or less alive, less more than more.
        I saw a raccoon while I lived in the first place- he was so beautiful- silver furred and all. My daughter teased me and said, ma are you feeding the raccoon too?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Considering your heat where you live, it is a wonder the garden stayed as well as you have found it.

        Really – a raccoon? Exciting! The first year I walked at Council Point Park, I arrived there one morning and the animal control officer was there – saw the truck and the caged area in the truck bed, so I went over to see what was happening in case I would want to leave (figured it might be a large animal or pit bull on the loose so would have left) … it was a raccoon and it was in the Creek and they were trying to capture it to set it free in a larger park. Wish I would have seen it. Years ago I read a great animal story called “Rascal” by Sterling North and later saw the movie (a Disney movie). Your daughter is funny.

        Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        Are racoons pests?

        Like

      • lindasschaub says:

        Well if they get near your house or worse, gain access to your house, they would be pests. As much as I like squirrels, they are considered pests as well. My grandmother lived in Toronto in a part of town that the houses were old and they were all attached to one another. That was how they built the houses long ago. So, if one neighbor got pests, be it bugs or critters, usually the neighbors on either side got them too. So someone got squirrels in the attic and they got into my grandmother’s attic too. She had to get a pest service to get them out as you’d be sitting in the living room and you could hear the squirrels running back-and-forth over your head. Cost her a small fortune to get them removed and then the attic had to be repaired where they had gotten in there, and chewed things up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        Oh dear! Even squirrels?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Sadly yes, even though it seems hard to believe. Many years ago our next-door neighbor Marge and my mom/I fed a squirrel we called “Sammy” – that squirrel was spoiled. We bought peanuts and put them out for him, we made him peanut butter on bread or a Ritz cracker and Marge fed him cookies. He used to wait for his treats on the fence, but then he got to a point where he’d sit at the door and wait for treats and even if he had been fed, he’d still beg. My mom started using a cane and had difficulties getting in and out of the door and was slow. He tried to get in the house and we had to stop feeding him because we were afraid he’d get into the house and be at large. Marge had to quit feeding him too as she got a dog and had to let it in/out of the door wall or door and Sammy tried to run in.

        Like

  13. Love the squirrel pictures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh bless. I am glad you are finding new squirrels to make you happy ❤. I love the image you pained of your grandfather with his cap too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      The squirrels have been coming and going all Summer – we’ve had this horrible heat and humidity for weeks, if not months, and finally we’ll have a storm to break that heat. The squirrels and birds have been staying up in their trees if it is really humid and hot. This guy was a surprise and his furry ears are not the norm at all! My grandfather always wore a painters cap – very rarely did I see him with his cap off.

      Like

  15. Eliza says:

    Loved finally reading this through. I especially loved the last point about parker watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, this fuzzy-eared squirrel finally made his debut. You know after those two days I never saw it again … and the Department of Natural Resources said it had a “bad hair day” but it is not normal how it looks with that fuzziness. Yes Parker is smug sometimes … wait til you catch up and read what happened with Parker. It was a dumb mistake but funny so I shared it … I don’t mind laughing at myself (like today with the artwork). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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