|Washington Square Park East Entrance|
The Squirrel Whisperer
Who should stop by but the legendary Squirrel Whisperer of WSP! We watch as Susan Goren whispers to one of her "pets".
Speaking of which, a female squirrel allows Susan pet her. Alas, the camera shutter was not fast enough to capture that ephemeral moment.
I'm reminded of my own Alphie, who once let me pat him on the head without jumping two feet in the air. He likes to come up real close and nuzzle my shoes, but we're not to the petting stage yet.
We watch some squirrels play "tag you're it" in this wonderful tree trunk that remains as a testament to the giant tree that once stood here.
Bernie and Joe discuss logistics:
Joe cuts some peeky holes in the houses:
|Joe throws the rope up into the tree|
|then tightens it securely|
|Sorry Charlie, but this house has to go!|
|Out with the old and in with the new|
|House of leaves|
This one is ready for the dump. The floor was falling apart and squirrels had actually eaten through the roof!
We found missing roofs on several houses. I was bemused by the idea that squirrels would actually eat the roof over their heads. Seems to be rather self-defeating, doesn't it? Hopefully these new plastic houses will be sturdy enough to doscourage such attempts. They will also be warmer, more weather-proof and more protective than the wooden ones.
This nest that was found inside one of the houses is composed of shredded plastic bags.
Interested passers-by stop to inquire about what's going on.
This man turns out to be an old friend of Joe's.
|Hey buddy, fancy meeting you here! How's the weather up there?|
With one house left to go, we move to the west side of the park.
Rosie the Hawk
A park visitor points out a hawk sitting in one of the trees observing us.
The hawk just sits there motionless on a branch We think it is Rosie, the red-tailed hawk.
On a branch below, some squirrels are making a great deal of noise -- what I call "hawk chatter". But they make no attempt to run away, nor does the hawk attempt to go after them. They all just sit there in a winter tableau.
|squirrels on branch (click to enlarge)|
We spy a second hawk in another tree a short distance away. This one is probably Bobby.
|Bobby (click to enlarge)|
I make my way over to get a closer shot, and just as I shoot, the big bird takes off!
To make up for the loss, here is a wonderful picture of Bobby that appears in today's NY Post:
A Fait Accomplis
It was a very productive day. Gone are six old houses that were falling apart and in their stead are four new houses. Hats off to the New York City Parks Dept. for providing the squirrels with houses that give them the shelter and protection they need in cold weather and storms. The Park people obviously value the squirrels as park assets, as indeed they are, providing local color and amusement to many park visitors.
A few days later, Rosie the hawk (below third window from left on second floor of white building) is seen swooping by the new house (above second window from left on second floor). Checking it out perhaps? Hopefully the squirrels stay safe and snug inside.