It finally happened! As the warmer weather began to seep in over the weekend my very first notion of Spring took place.
While my father was cleaning out a bag full of leaves and chewed garden gloves that was hanging from a hook in the back of our shed, something extraordinary took place. He dumped the bag out into a half full lawn bag, but before stepping away he heard a tiny little peep. Peering into the bag he came face to face with a tiny baby squirrel! It was so upset that it had been dumped from its nest so abruptly that it was crying out for its mother. My father immediately ran into the house in order to find a squirrel expert, in this case that would be me. I’ve had similar experiences with baby squirrels before. My freshman year of college I found a baby squirrel in the parking lot of my old tanning salon and immediately took it back to my house in order to save it. Days later I brought it to the Delmar animal hospital in order for them to help rehabilitate it (it’s illegal to have a squirrel in New York State).
So when my father told me the news I came running to the rescue. I put a pair of pink gloves on due to my fear that if I touched them the mother would no longer care for them. I then gently scooped up the little baby from the lawn bag. He cried and cried for his mother. My father and I heard a scuttling and noticed a big squirrel staring at us from one of our cherry blossom trees. It had to have been the baby squirrels mother as she was gazing at us intensely with a mixture of worry and fury. I gently placed the baby squirrel in a bowl full of leaves until my father and I could re-construct its nest. I reached into the bag to grab some leaves to begin this process when I saw a flash of skin. Another baby squirrel! My father had not only dumped out one baby, but two! I reached in and brushed some leaves off the second baby. This one was a bit smaller than the first, but cried just as loudly. I stroked its back and spoke softly to it in order to calm it down. It seemed to do the trick and I placed it next to its sibling in the bowl. By now I was really worried that my father had dumped out multiple baby squirrels so I dug through the lawn bag carefully looking for more.
Sure enough I found a third baby squirrel clinging to a broken leaf for dear life. This one had a little scrap on its back, but luckily it wasn’t bleeding. I tried to soothe it like a mother squirrel would, but it still whimpered sadly in its makeshift bowl. I dug around for a while, but couldn’t seem to find any other babies. I had my father carefully dump the rest of the bag out, but upon further inspection there were no babies to be found.
My father built their nest back up as best as he could and I transferred the three little booboos back into their nest. We hung the bag back on its hook and closed the shed door, hopeful that the mother would come back for them. Last night my father went to check up on them and to his amazement they were gone! Not in the bag, not on the floor, simply gone. We came to the conclusion that the mother squirrel, nervous about the well-being of her babies, took them one by one out of the nest and transferred them to a safer location. She wins the mother of the year award.
This, my friends, means one very important thing. Spring is here to stay! No more freezing cold weather, awful snowy days, and salt encrusted boots. Those days are behind us as baby animals are beginning to be born, flowers are sprouting green and triumphant out of the earth, and a warm breeze takes the place of frigid air. Happy Spring!