December 30th, 2005

The Librarian

Squirrelatics

Squirrel A chases Squirrel B, back and forth across the courtyard, up the tree, back and forth across several branches, until Squirrel B is finally cornered at the tip of cluster of twigs, with no other escape within jumping distance. At which point Squirrel B cleverly flips over and runs back up the underside of the branch to the trunk, acting so quickly that Squirrel A nearly jumps out of its skin when Squirrel B zooms underneath it. Chase resumes, round and round in the tree and finally back onto the ground, where it suddenly stops and both squirrels settle about two metres apart, checking the ground for food caches (the resident squirrels dig little holes all over the lawn and bury their winter food supply). Squirrel B gets lucky and starts nibbling on a goody (looks like a small pinecone), Squirrel A notices and the chase is on again. Enter Squirrel C, who jumps into the fray and intervenes, chasing Squirrel A away from Squirrel B, who once again settles down to eat. Rodent chivalry? Fat chance ... Squirrel C, having routed Squirrel A, takes up the chase of Squirrel B and the treat. At which point the whole circus travels to the south end of the courtyard, out of sight.

Much tail whirling by all the participants during this little drama (by which I mean the fluffy squirrel tails are going 'round and 'round like little propellers instead of just the normal twitching for balance), so presumably some sort of territory/scentmarking thingy is going on right now; I'm too lazy to go look it up, but I believe mating is still a couple of months away ... maybe some preparatory redefining of dominance and hierarchy is going on in our little colony right now? Pity I don't have any nuts on hand, so I can lure one of the critters to the balcony for questioning ...
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