Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dramatic rescue

We has some *major* wind the other day. As beautiful as the clear sky looked, the velocity of the wind combined with the cold made it a very unfun day to be outside.

Late in the afternoon, I was standing in my kitchen drying the recently cleaned parts of my Cuisinart. A curly soap line has formed in the plunger element, and I needed to rinse and dry it.

Standing at my sink, I have a pass-through window so that I can see my dining table and look beyond that out to the patio. Behind my patio lies a fence and fast encroaching redwood trees. The trees were likely planted by the neighbor to create some privacy. I question whether they thought through the implications of growing redwoods in a yard the size of a two car garage. They're beautiful trees, but their size is going to be a problem one day.

As I was trying to thread a towel into the crevices of the acrylic plunger, I noticed something fall from the tree. It was followed by bits of tree branch. The wind bullied the trees and apparently one of the branches snapped. Just a minute later, a brown mass cradled by green needles fell and landed on the ledge of the fence.

When I moved closer to the window to look, I realized there was also a strange gray stick off to one side. Once my eyes focused more clearly, I realized that it was a squirrel. It's head was unusual, flatter and triangular like a snake. I realized that it was a juvenile. The poor thing was clinging to the fence for dear life. I imagine it was not moving because it was stunned by the fall.

Soon after, a larger squirrel, presumably the mom, came down the tree and cautiously hopped onto the fence. Just as she approached the branch clump, the juvenile tried to move. He looked frantic as he tried to find some leverage and ended up upside down with his right foot caught in the remains of the nest. Mom finally heard the rustling and tried to reach for her child. With her hind claw tightly gripping the top of the fence, she stretched down to reach the juvenile. She managed to get one paw on him, followed by her teeth. It reminded me a little of a momma cat picking up one of her litter.

The juvenile seemed a little calmer knowing Mom had arrived. His body seemed to relax a little to allow Mom to rescue him. She, however, did not have a secure grasp of her child. Her grasp on him was shaky and then the remains of the branch and nest began to slide off the edge of the fence ledge. Because she was standing on some of the branches, she was sliding with it. She seemed to tighten her grip as they fell down with the debris some five feet to the ground.

Fortunately, Mom landed safely and quick hopped from a planting pot and scaled the fence to return to the site where she had just stood. The juvenile did not move and I wondered if he was okay. She used her paws to adjust her hold on him. Under one arm, she tucked in his tail, and then his head under the other arm. She had balled him up as if he were a tube of dough shaped into a horseshoe and skipped down the fence ledge off to some unknown location.


1 comment:

teahouse said...

What a great story! I'm glad the mother squirrel rescued her little one.