From our bathroom window on the second floor, we see a maple tree. In the trunk of that tree, we see a hole. In that hole, for the past five years, a mating pair of flickers has returned to set up shop. We eagerly await their arrival every spring.
This spring, however, a family of squirrels has invaded the hole in the tree from which we have watched baby flickers fledge every year. We watched the brief bitter struggle for a home base, and the squirrels, out of sheer bullying, won. (They threw three baby birdies out of the nest!) Now a mother squirrel and HER five babies inhabit the space.
I suppose that's the way of the natural world.
It's just that, well, we like the flickers better. We miss the mother and father taking turns gathering for their babies, which in some subconscious way always leads one of us to a remark about the importance of having two parents, and how hard it would be to feed and clothe and keep our babies safe if there were only one of us. (NOT a plug for "traditional family values" here, just an observation about the fact that yes, child-rearing IS easier with two incomes and two influences. Simple as that.)
Most of all, though, we miss their song.
The squirrels dig up my sunflower seeds, chew the tender sprouts off of the ones that happen to make it, nibble apricot blossoms and baby 'cots from our 100+ year old tree, and destroy our lilacs. Sorry, for all their "cuteness" of bushy tails and chasing each other around tree trunks, they are destructive, obnoxious tree rats. Not to mention they carry lovely diseases like bubonic plague. And they're bullies! And possibly even spies!
And so it comes to this - there's one less squirrel on the Westside. John shot the mother today.