When I drove up the driveway yesterday afternoon there was a platoon of squirrels arranged around our freshly raked back yard. Every one of the critters appeared to be eating something that the lawn was yielding up. I thought it might be the little nub of matter in the helicopter blade-like maple tree seeds that are scattered all over the yard. I can scan across the leafless treetops behind the house and count a half-dozen squirrel nests at the penthouse level. All the squirrels looked like they had been packing on the ounces in advance of the cold weather. I’m talking ten large gray squirrels scampering from branch to fence to ground.
We’ve taken precautions in recent years by having the limbs of trees close to the house trimmed back to prevent jumpers from making it onto the roof. As soon as the tree service guys left the last time, someone told me that the squirrels will run up the drainpipe—they don’t need trees.
We’ve had them in the house in past years, and trapped more than I want to recall in the Have-a-Heart cage-trap. Sometimes I’d drive them to Shedd Park to let them loose, on advice of another expert who said you have to take them across a body of water to free them, in this case the Concord River, otherwise they will find the way back. Sometimes I carried them to the Common across the street and set them loose. I spraypainted the tail of one of them yellow to see if that guy would make a return appearance. He did. Old yellow-tail survived.
In a catalog we read about a battery-powered repellant device that emits some kind of sound wave that freaks out the beasts. We ordered five and put them in the attic. That has worked for a few years. We haven’t been plagued with upstairs runners for a while. I’m worried about this year, though. That team on the fairway yesterday looked pretty healthy. If it gets to be freezing outside, they could abandon their tree houses and make a run for the main building. Stay tuned.