Saturday, March 6, 2010

Along the squirrel highway

This is one of the main routes the squirrels follow.
Being the industrious, focused creatures that they are, our resident red squirrels have transformed the backyard into their own efficient highway system. They have dug tunnels through snowbanks, excavated other hidey-holes/rest stops and packed the snow into easily discernible roadways that give them direct routes from the more vulnerable open area around the bird feeder to the safety of the woods.

Like us, the squirrels use their highways to move goods. They take sunflower seeds from the feeder or cones from the pines and carry them to corners around the yard for safekeeping. Like us, the squirrels use their highways for pleasure. We take joy rides and they run and chase each other back and forth and up and down. Perhaps there was something more going on. The Minnesota DNR says red squirrels engage in dizzying courtship chases.

The squirrels have been especially active the last few days -- spring is taking a few tentative steps. Longer days, the sun moving higher in the sky and temperatures warm enough to begin melting the squirrels' highways -- until next winter. 
One of at least four resident squirrels surveys the rodent road system from a perch on the deck.

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