Today is the thrilling climax of Squirrel Appreciation Weekend, the actual day itself! Since 2001, every January 21st has been set aside to honor those cute little rodents who make our neighborhoods livelier. Here you can see what I wrote about the background of Squirrel Appreciation Day last year.
This year, let’s look at some reasons why you should appreciate squirrels in the first place!
Squirrels are fun to watch. If there’s ever a day where the squirrel activity is high around your yard, take some time to gaze at them through the window… or if your squirrels aren’t so skittish, maybe even from the porch or your patio. Their frantic chasing and jabbering at each other is quite amusing, their limb to limb acrobatics are nothing short of amazing, and their stress-relieving capabilities are good for your well being! Don’t curse the few bad things about the fact that your yard hosts squirrels, concentrate on the many wonderful fringe benefits they offer you! Short of a lightning display, squirrels at their playful best are one of nature’s best free shows!
Many people engage in the hobby of birdfeeding and birdwatching. That’s fine, to each their own… but why don’t more people feed their squirrels? And no, I’m not talking about poison. Putting out corn, nuts, or sunflower seeds is a great way to attract squirrels to your yard and keep your tree jumping. There should be no shame in feeding the squirrels, and it’s a crime they aren’t a more welcome part of the suburban ecosystem. Most stores that sell birdseed also sell squirrel feed. I myself have a corncob feeder attached to my tree, and I try to put out a fresh ear of corn at least twice a week. There is no better way to say you care about the cute little arboreal critters around you than to put out some morsels for them. If you haven’t noticed, squirrels do like to eat…
Of course, there are also the environmental issues. Every time you use your oak dinette set, read the newspaper, admire the foliage, breathe in oxygen, or even wipe your behind…. be sure to thank a squirrel! Many many years ago, before mankind realized how important maintaining the forests were, squirrels were already taking care of that without any help from the EPA or Greenpeace. Many of the trees in the forests around the world sprouted up from nuts planted in the ground by squirrels. Squirrels once dominated the landscape in North America, and before the human population boom thinned them out, they were a veritable tree planting army. Not that they really put the nuts in the ground with the intention of planting a tree…. you know how the memory is when your little squirrelly mind is running about ten things at once. But we should still appreciate what our sciurine ancestors did for us centuries ago, ensuring that even after mass cutting, there would still be plenty of lush forests to keep the ecosystem humming.
I have many reasons to appreciate squirrels, since without them this blog and most of my artwork would not exist. But everyone out there can and SHOULD find their own reasons to appreciate our precious urban wildlife. Their carefree and vivacious attitude towards life should be a lesson for us all! It would be a cold, cruel world without the squirrels around to cheer us up. If nothing else, they’ll keep your dog or cat constantly occupied with far-fetched thoughts of sciuricide.
Whatever your reasons, make sure to appreciate a squirrel! Not only today, but everyday! Let’s make squirrel appreciation a year ’round goal!