Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Black Squirrel

A black squirrel scampered up
one of the maple trees
lining Cary Street outside
my bedroom window as I
walked by today heading to my
garage to look again for a grinding wheel
I need to do some repair work on a
rusting metal door at my church.
I finally found it in a tool box,
about the tenth one I looked through.
It scampered up to the first branches
about six feet off the ground and
clung to the bark like they do
and eyed me as I walked by.
I wonder if it thought I couldn’t see it.
I was about four feet away
and adjusted slightly as I passed to keep
more of the tree between it and me.
A genetic mutation
causing the black fur,
these squirrels are a “melanistic” subgroup
of Eastern gray squirrels, the most common
squirrel in the Midwest,
according to Wikipedia and
are not nearly as numerous as their
gray/brown cousins.
Evolutionary theory says the mutation
developed to give the squirrels
more protection in the dark, dense,
forests which at one time covered much of
the eastern US.
The coloration doesn't help much in Papillion, Nebraska.
I looked up into the branches
of the several trees on my street
but didn’t see a nest.
It might have out on a
squirrel walk-about though.
There’s a park about a block away
and I’ll see if I can locate its nest there


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