Critters can be quite entertaining

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2014

As I worked at the kitchen sink one morning, I noticed my little dog sniffing around the storage house. It looked like she was trying to crawl under it, so I called her. She came running. When I opened the door to let her in the house, I saw she had something in her mouth.

“What is that in your mouth? Drop it,” I said. She did. A squirrel’s tail fell on the floor. I quickly scooped it up with a paper towel and disposed of it.

Sometimes I watch her chase a squirrel in the back yard. She never even gets close to one. I figured one of the cats that often visit our back yard had caught one. There was no scent or trace of a dead animal out there, so I have no explanation for her find. It was just another example of some of the amazing things animals do.

When my husband and I camped, we sometimes had encounters with different creatures. One day I sat in my lounge chair beside our RV nibbling a delicious homemade cookie with a pecan on top. The pecan fell on the ground. I picked it up and tossed it toward a squirrel nuzzling some birdseed close by. The creature moved in and consumed the roasted nut in short order. Instead of heading off on its merry way when it finished, this one edged a little closer. It begged for more. I grabbed a bag of peanuts my husband had bought at the campground store and threw one to the squirrel. It dashed up, sniffed the peanut, turned its back on it, and ran away. I always heard that beggars could not be choosy. I guess that does not apply to squirrels. This one was choosy. It snubbed a peanut after feasting on a toasted pecan.

There were always plenty of birds to observe in that campground. One morning I saw a wren fly into an open compartment on Freddie’s trailer parked next to us. Mama Wren carried a pine straw in her bill. That safe cavity where Freddie’s water lines ran into the trailer was a perfect place for the industrious little wren’s nest. I found Freddie working on some crafts on his patio and told him about his unexpected (and unwelcome) visitor. He jumped up and rushed to close the compartment. The wren returned with more nesting material. She perched on a near-by tree trunk and watched him spoil her nesting plan.

We once found a bird nest in progress behind the gas bottles on our trailer at that same campground. As badly as we hated to destroy it, we knew we could not stay long enough for the mother bird to lay the eggs and let them hatch. Sometimes the birds are persistent and start building again in the same spot, so we had to keep a close watch.

We learned early on that squirrels, birds, and a variety of other creatures provided fun campground entertainment.