National Squirrel Appreciation Day

Yes, it’s that day when we go out of our way to appreciate the little critter that antagonizes me all year long.  But, for one day I suppose I can put it on a pedistal. 

Each morning these furry creatures run across my roof (single story over my bedroom) and wake me up.  They attack my bird feeder daily, eating most of the food I leave for the birds.  I did find an alternate food the birds like and squirrels are supposed to hate but squirrels adapt.  Squirrels dig in my yard.  They put little holes in the grass and garden when they hide or dig up acorns and other things.  They make a horrible screeching noise from high a-top the trees in my neighborhood.  They taunt my dog (a lab with a genetic disposition to hate squirrels), forcing her to bark at them from inside the house and chase after them in the back yard.  Then, safe in a tree the squirrels chatter at her.  If I ever plant seeds straight in the garden (as opposed to starting in the house), the neighborhood squirrels dig them out. 

All of this aside I will say that squirrels are fascinating.  There are over 200 species in the world.  One, the Eastern Grey Squirrel, resides in a nest high in tree next to my house.  I’ve had a lot of time to watch this little family sharing my yard.  I am in awe over how they climb just about anything and jump the distances from one item to another.  They hang from the bird feeder for extended periods…way too long but somehow they don’t feel dizzy from the blood rushing to their heads as I would.  If so they wouldn’t hang so long.

I keep a low bird bath near my bird feeder among the trees and love to see the squirrel visit it.  No I’ve never seen it take a bath as the birds will often do, but the squirrel approaches so hesitantly, crawls close to the ground almost underneath it, then pops it’s head over the rim and takes a drink. 

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to sketch them.  My nature journal is filled with squirrel drawings.  When I lived in Florida we had a squirrel without a tail.  It was quite agile and balanced itself as well as any other squirrel.  I have a drawing of that squirrel. 

They really are cute animals.  They’ve got big eyes and curly tails. They’re fluffy.

If you’d like to celebrate the squirrel today here are several things you can do:

Sketch one in your own backyard for your nature journal or turn it into a painting.  For smaller children there are plenty of free coloring pages on line to print out, color and hang on the refrigerator.

Put a squirrel feeder in your yard.  There are several kinds and the ones I’ve seen are mostly corn cob holders.  I’ve purchased “squirrel food” from the local pecan farmer.  That’s a bag of broken pecans, not suitable for human consumption.  The squirrels in my yard loved them.

Visit your local nature center and learn about the squirrel species in your part of the country.  There are also great DVDs and VHS shows that you can check out from the library to watch at home.  Make some popcorn for yourself and the squirrels.

Take photos of the furry friend.  The Huffington Post is having a PhotoShop Squirrel Picture Competition.  Couldn’t find out what the prize is but check it out and enter your photo.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/21/squirrel-appreciation-day-2012_n_1220089.html

Check out the Squirrel Appreciation Day 2012 Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/203979402982102/.  The date of their day of appreciation  is in July but there are still plenty of cute pictures.

Make a squirrel craft:

Squirrel Craft

Details for this little guy are found here: http://familycrafts.about.com/od/squirrelcrafts/ss/pcsquirrel.htm

 
Craftster.org has pages of squirrel crafts from knitted squirrel pin cushions to paper mache squirrels. 
 
Bake some cookies. You’ll need a squirrel shaped cookie cutter and icing to make your own design but go ahead and make a recipe for you and one for your dog.
 
And for those of you who appreciate squirrels for their tasty nourishment, there are plenty of recipes to choose from so you can have a little variety at dinnertime.  Try this recipe link for Slow Cooked Squirrel: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooked-squirrel/
 
How will I celebrate the day?  Aside from writing about squirrels, I’ll leave out the squirrel coloring pages for children at the Y today and probably do nothing else.  The squirrel family that shares my yard has already woken me up, eaten my bird seed, dug for acorns in the grass and tormented my dog.  I’ve had enough, so I’ll just pretend it’s just another day.
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One thought on “National Squirrel Appreciation Day

  1. The Birding Bunch says:

    Well, you can appreciate them for being hawk food. 🙂 We have few trees, so we have few squirrels here. Maybe I can count on one hand how many we’ve seen. After seeing one, we did put up a twirly corn cob holder for them. We’ve never seen a squirrel on it, but saw a couple rats. A hawk came and snagged it. Yay. My husband took care of the other.
    Yes, they are cute, but I’ve heard too many horror stories with them and the bird feeders. I like that crafty squirrel, though.
    We had a funny experience in Omaha. We put up a squirrel feeder. It had a lid and squirrels would hop right in and eat what we provided. One day, a squirrel was filling his cheeks with nuts and things. It buried these in the front yard. As it ran back to refill its cheeks, a little chipmunk dug up what the squirrel just buried and filled his own cheeks. This went on a number of times.

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