Rough Day For Varmits...and me

This morning I heard this high pitched squeaking sound. I opend my window and took a look around. No other birds were around and it was surprisingly quiet in my neighborhood. I figured a Cooper's hawk had just nailed something and was a tad bummed I missed it. I thought about going outside to make sure, but decided against it.

Twenty minutes later I heard the sound again. I poked my head out the window and saw one of my building's maintenance men working outside so I figured the sound must have come from something he was doing, maybe unscrewing a pipe or socket.

Late this afternoon while getting some work done I heard the squeak again. Looking out the window I couldn't see anyone outside. I decided to put some shoes on and investigate. I walked around the ally and saw a robin hopping around, could it have a fledging nearby? I've never heard a fledging robin make a sound like that...then I saw some movement near the dumpsters:

There he was, a young squirrel. He tried too look so tough and growl when I approached, but ended up tripping over himself. I felt really bad that I hadn't gone with my gut instinct and checked out the source of the squealing this morning.

As I snapped a few photos, he jumped and hissed and came closer and closer. Then he gave that squeal I had been hearing throughout the day. When you're a few feet away from it, the sound is downright ear-splitting. Not seeing any other squirrels nearby, I decided to get one of Cinnamon's carriers and see if I could grab the young squirrel and take him to rehab.

I set down the carrier and he came right over and climbed the door:

How can something so small and cute grow into something so destructive? He clung to the side of the door (that's when I saw for sure that he was male) and gave the squeal some more. I was beginning to wonder if any of my neighbors might hear this and then see me down there and think I was abusing it. After the last round of squealing he hopped right into the carrier and I closed the door. I came back into my apartment to grab my car keys. I had let Cinnamon run around outside of the rabbit room this afternoon and though I normally don't leave her unsupervised in the apartment, decided that I didn't have time to corral her and would risk it. I closed any open closet doors, hoped that she would stay out of the kitchen and headed to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

On the way there I played the Xanadu soundtrack. The squirrel shrieked--so loud in a car. I turned off the iPod and onto fm107. Apparently the young squirrel preferred "real life conversation" to Olivia Newton John and ELO.

I dropped off the squirrel and got some debate from the person at the front desk as to whether or not this was in fact a baby squirrel and should have been brought in at all. I mentioned that it had been screaming all day outside a dumpster and willingly hopped into the carrier when it was set on the ground. It was taken in. I was a tad irritated, but I completely understood where the person was coming from, many animals brought in, especially young rabbits and fledging birds are brought in by mistake. Most tiny cottontail rabbits are self sufficient but good natured people see them and bring them in. Same goes for most baby birds. When they are fully feathered an fluttering on the ground, they get mistaken for being too young to leave the nest and are brought in, when the best thing for them was to be left to learn to fly in peace.

And because I love what the WRC does and really appreciate that there is a place in the Twin Cities that is open seven days a week for me to drop off animals in trouble and because no animal in recorded history has ever had health insurance I dropped of a check along with the squirrel.

I left the WRC, went to pick up Non Birding Bill so he could have the car to go to play rehearsal, and finished up some emailing. Every now and then I heard the sound of Cinnamon, it's sound he makes on a door when she leans up on it and then sits back down on all fours--he claws lightly scraping against a wood door. Usually a gentle reminder that she would like to run about. I thought how odd she should be making that sound since she was already running about...I then realized that I had been snacking and she wasn't near the couch hoping for a scrap. I walked around shaking some Nutriberries (a favorite snack) and couldn't find her. I didn't even hear the door sound. She wasn't under the bed, not in the kitchen, not in either of her cottonttail cottages...where was she? I then remembered the closet door I closed right before I left by the front door. I opened it and sure enough, out she hopped from the clutter and darkness.

"Mom!! How could you lock me in a closet?! I'm so angry, I can barely disapprove! You care more about squirrels than you do about me!"

I felt TERRIBLE. I can't believe I accidentally locked my rabbit in closet for two hours. I finally got a link on the House Rabbit Society for having good bunny karma, I think I might have blown it.

"I don't care how many grapes (munch, munch) you give me, or how many (munch, munch) sugar snap peas, I'm still not forgiving you for this (munch, munch)."