Wildlife Survey

The other day I was walking the fifty meters between the house and my car when out from under my road-trip mobile scampered a bushy-tailed gray squirrel. There are two things I must remind you at this time. 1) Bushy-tailed Gray Squirrels are tree squirrels. They usually leave the scampering around on the ground to their diminutive chip-‘n’-dale ground squirrel brethren. 2) 87% of all documented squirrel suicides are by tree squirrels.

Naturally, before I drove, I checked my brake lines. I imagine that for a suicidal squirrel the car brakes are the greatest enemy. He dashes out into the road to his certain demise only to discover that his chosen vehicle of death has ABS and remarkably sticky tires. The squirrel survives and his squirrel buddies give him hell for it. Peer pressure can be ugly, even among squirrels.

All right, so Friday I caught a squirrel sabotaging my brakes. I caught him in time, no harm done. Saturday, yesterday, I stopped short as I walked to my car. There was a bear next to it. A fine, not-yet-full-sized California Brown bear. (Although I am now in Nevada, apparently there are treaties in place allowing certain limited visitation rights.) There was a time, not so long ago, I imagine, that the bears would go down to the lake or visit one of the tributary streams much as you and I get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. Now I understand the paperwork is endless for a bear to get permission to take water from one of the streams. Don’t get them started about shitting in the woods.

Today as I went out to my car a golden eagle coasted overhead. It was huge. It was majestic. I’ll bet you a buck-fifty it was looking for squirrels. The raptor turned slowly, perhaps catching a draft over the release of hot air as I lowered the car’s top. It was so close I could have touched it if I had those telescoping arms like Dr. Octopus, or maybe if I was that rubber guy. You know who I mean. No, no, not the wonder Twins. They give me the creeps. There’s a few too many possibilities there, if you know what I mean. Anyway, wasn’t there some other rubber guy? He always won the arguments against Glue Guy.

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