Lots of shadowtail* activity
I don’t know what’s going on, but for the last few days the squirrels that live around my house have been doing a lot more chasing around than usual, bounding in twos and threes through the Ashe juniper tree outside my window so fast that I can hardly follow them. From the tree they often jump the gap to my house, and then I hear the thud-thud-thud of their bodies as the squirrels go scampering across my roof. Could this be mating season?
I don’t have a picture of all that frenzied moving about—I’d have to enter the unfamiliar world of video to do it justice—but I do have a photograph from November 30th showing a calmer activity that I’ve also observed. From time to time a squirrel that’s not caught up in all the scampering, which is to say a solitary squirrel, catches a glimpse of me through the glass of the window and keeps staring as it tries to figure out what I am. Or maybe it knows what I am and just can’t take its eyes off such a handsome specimen of manhood. Yes, I’m sure that’s it.
* The English word squirrel ultimately traces back to the picturesque ancient Greek name for this animal, skiouros, which meant ‘shadow-tail.’ The scientific name for the fox squirrel is Sciurus niger, which two people have said they think this probably is. The similar eastern gray squirrel is Sciurus carolinensis.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman