They took a Squirrel Census in Central Park. Counted up those Gray Squirrels of New York City Parkdom.
Specifically, it was a group called, of all things, the “Squirrel Census.” Several different societies, groups, and clubs all merged together to work on this. In all there were more than 300 volunteers, over 11 days. They would romp about Central Park at dawn and at dusk because those are the hours of Squirrel Prime Time.
They covered all 840 acres of the park. And by golly. They counted those squirrels and noted where they were spotted, and how they looked, sounded and behaved. Or misbehaved. Depending.
Now, I am not entirely sure why this is important. Other then, perhaps ICE is planning a crackdown on the dreaded Canadian Marmot, several of which have entered the United States in barrels, plummeting over Niagara Falls. It is a little nuts if you ask me.
Anyway, they found a lot of squirrels in Central Park. Approximately 2373 of them. Really, it isn’t that many. When you do the math, it is just about 3 squirrels per acre. Here in our corner of the 100 acres woods, our squirrel numbers seem to overshadow the figures found in Central Park. It could be the corn and apples we put out daily for the deer. Both are big hits with squirrels. Rabbits too.
The truth is, I am pretty found of squirrels. Those acrobatic wonders of nature. A lot about them is wondrous too. Of course, they gather food, in the way of nuts. They bury those nuts for safe keeping. But it is a challenge. Squirrels lose about 25% of their buried food to thieves. But those squirrels are thwarters. They do something called “deceptive caching.” That is when a squirrel digs a hole and then covers it up again. Vigorously. But they do this without depositing a nut. And that is how they throw off potential food thieves.
Of course, one of the most widely “talked about” squirrel behaviors is their uncanny knack for darting out in front of cars. But here is the thing. Squirrels are targets of predators. When squirrels feel threatened, they run away in a zigzag pattern. (I do the same thing.) Anyway. This works great when they are trying to avoid hawks and other predators. Unfortunately, they see cars as predators too. So they duck, dodge, and zig zag. A lot of times, right into our path. Don’t curse them. Forgive them, because they are scared. I brake for squirrels.
So yes. All of this. Once again, I am reminded of all the incredible wonders of the world. In things of nature. Like squirrels.
And. I think I figured out why those people in New York took that census. Perhaps they did it to count their blessings.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir
“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”
― William Shakespeare
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson