Saturday, March 22, 2014

Update on the Squirrels of Cypress Hills

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bow breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will fall baby, cradle and all. (said to be first poem written on American soil)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article here about the squirrels here in my neighborhood, showing their newly renovated nest and added my thoughts that there would most likely be a new crop of little squirrels in the area. Of course, as someone who enjoys planting a vegetable garden on her porch, I had mixed feeling on the arrival of new little strawberry and tomato eating monsters (oh, all right: I know they’re cute, but there are plenty of other things they could eat, like the mulberries that grow in the tree where their nest was…)

HPIM1687Yes, you read correctly: was. Lately, Brooklyn has been hit by some pretty nasty weather that has, unfortunately, wreaked havoc with the squirrel’sHPIM1705 nest in our backyard forest. The photo on the left is the nest at the time the first article was published. It snowed a few days later, with moderate winds, and the squirrels found themselves needing to reconstruct their home. (see photo at right). When they finished, it actually was restored to the same condition as before the storm.

The poor nest was rained upon and snowed upon, and yet, despite the soggy leaves and diminished space, the HPIM1715squirrels continued to brave it out. That is, until last week, when some fairly strong winds came through Brooklyn and scattered the leaves comprising the nest to the four corners of the neighborhood. (see photo bottom left), leaving (excuse the pun) a miserable pile of… just about nothing.

At first, the squirrels were in an uproar, racing about the tree branches, heading down toward the area where they had first gathered leaves to build up their “fortress”; their enthusiasm diminished somewhat when other “buyers” took a look at the offerings and quickly abandoned any idea of refurbishing the incapacitated dwelling. Three pairs of birds considered taking up residence (hoping to save time and energy, I assume) in the nest – catbirds, starlings and sparrows. All three decided against taking advantage of the bargain, and went elsewhere to build their own nests.

The nest has now been abandoned by all and sundry and sits forlornly all by itself. Even the squirrels avoid all contact with their former home. As to baby squirrels? I don’t know if they had been born and killed by the bad weather, or if they have been carried to another place by their hapless parents. Or perhaps, they weren’t even born yet. Previous activity would suggest otherwise, but my hopes are that they were spared any mishaps. Open-mouthed smile