Rainy day report

Zoé's morning habits include a visit with Buddha.

We currently share our backyard with a large gray squirrel. He's fat and healthy looking, with a beautiful tail, of which he is justifiably proud. Like all squirrels he has a two-to-three second attention span—he's squirrelly. He darts about in true random vector patterns, and unlike our cat Zoé, he is unpredictable. Cats, of course, need only do a thing twice before it becomes a habit; often an annoying one.

Zoé shares the backyard with the squirrel, but never at the same time. I give the squirrel credit for that. They both, however, have an interest in the birdhouse nailed to one of our pine trees. It's the home of two western bluebirds who have taken a fierce and understandable dislike to both squirrel and cat. The birdhouse is only a few feet above the wooden fence that surrounds the perimeter of our yard. It's a silly place for a birdhouse but it was here before we or our house was, so we can't be blamed. Our neighbor likes it and doesn't want it moved. So there you are.

The squirrel, as far as I can tell, has no designs on the nest, unlike Zoé, who stalks the fence and sits as near as she can comfortably get to it. Ray has put chicken wire around the tree so she can't climb; she can only sit and contemplate while she waits for whatever she waits for. Strangely, though, the bluebirds seem to ignore the cat and hate the squirrel.

For two days running we have watched as the squirrel, perched for a moment on the fence, is deliberately attacked by the birds. He immediately turns and races along the fence top as the birds follow, diving and attacking with feet, beak, and wing across two backyards. When the squirrel can go no farther he dives into the street, and the birds flutter peacefully home.

The squirrel is lucky they are only bluebirds. He would make a fine dinner for the two baby golden eaglets we've been watching on a local eagle cam. Dubbed Needles and Goldie, they are growing rapidly and are expected to fledge around June 15. The same adult eagles claim this nest every year. It's a small open hole about feet 250 high in the side of a cliff, so watching the young ones as they move around the nest can give you palpitations. We have watched the parents bring in mice, gophers, and lots of unidentifiable creatures for the little ones to feed on. And while we cheer at that, we'd be utterly distraught to see one of those goldens haul away the squirrel or Zoé. Thus do we again confirm the unreasonableness of humans.