I'm being stalked again. I had actually become somewhat complacent, since I hadn't caught the guy looking in my window for quite a while. Just when I was settling back into normalcy, he started turning up again. It's really creepy. Sometimes he's alone, and sometimes he brings a friend along.
Rufus the Redneck, aka a pesky gray ground squirrel, has been with me for so long that sometimes I almost miss him when he takes a leave of absence. Although it really is annoying to walk into my kitchen half asleep and see two brown eyes peering at me through the window, I find that it ensures a healthy heart rate for the day.
I slept in on a leisurely morning some months back and was schlepping my way down the hall, thinking about my first cup of coffee and hoping to enjoy the early risers who make it to the bird feeder at first light. When I saw Rufus dangling upside down on the feeder, with his front paws on the brick ledge looking through my window, I nearly had a heart attack. In all fairness, I have to admit, albeit sheepishly, that I've given Rufus' heart a jolt or two myself since then. I also broke some wooden spoons rapping on the window, but what are a couple of spoons compared to great laughter while you're still in your jammies?
Rufus and I have this running battle: I fill up the bird feeder. He empties it. I fill it up again and tie it in a different place. He finds it within a day or two, chews through the rope, ensuring that the top falls off when it hits the ground, and proceeds to have a picnic. I can't tell you how many times I've hung a brand-new "squirrel-proof" feeder only to watch him sit back on his haunches enjoying yet another free meal, making a liar out of the advertisement on the box and giving me heartburn.
The final insult was when he had a formal dinner party on my window ledge last winter and invited Ramona, aka The Other Squirrelly Rodent, to dine with him. Even though I yelled unprintable things at them, neither Rufus nor Ramona winced or even looked up. Instead, they simply continued to shuck those expensive black-oil sunflower seeds, making a pile of shells beside them.
Seething, I marched to my car and made a special trip to purchase yet another "squirrel-proof" bird feeder, one I'd seen advertised a few days earlier.
Did you know that squirrels have four fingers and a little nubbin for a thumb? I discovered that when Ramona, in utter despair, sat down outside my kitchen window the day after I hung the last feeder. Looking very frustrated, she put her little paws on the windowpane and turned those beautiful brown eyes toward me as if to say, "Please. Could you just spread some seeds where we can find them?"
I managed to ignore the plea but stayed glued to the window, wondering what her next move would be.
"I'm so hungry," she telepathically pleaded.
"Nothing doing," I yelled, turning my back so she'd know I was ignoring her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her licking the bird perches.
"Knock it off!" I screamed.
Ignited by my success, I went right out and bought a suet feeder, the kind with a cage built all the way round it, to keep the squirrels out, of course. That worked, too. I could barely stand the fact that I was finally winning the battle. Gloating, I couldn't wait to get to the window each day. On the third morning, it took me a while to discern that the black shroud covering the new suet feeder was actually a crow.
Oh, well, at least it's a bird.