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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Valley Resident Deported...

No doubt you've heard it said that the criminal returns to the scene of the crime. That commonplace phrase lends credence to the truth of the matter, the matter, in this case, being the "egg missing in broad daylight." It turns out I didn't have to puzzle over the mystery long. No need to hire a private investigator or arrange for a video camera stakeout...the brazen perp returned to the chicken run the very next day. There he was in all his gray glory, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, scurrying about "in broad daylight," a trespasser clearly embarrassed at being discovered in the chicken run.

I never did see the squirrel's escape route; I was too into the moment wondering just what means of prestidigitation a squirrel could employ to make a grade AA egg vanish without a trace. And the squirrel had to be the culprit...too coincidental, a vanished egg and a gray trespasser. To corroborate my suspicions, I needed to do a bit of forensic research, and where better to find evidence of squirrels behaving badly than the internet. Video after video on You Tube showed squirrels raiding hen houses, cradling the eggs in their forelegs and sashaying away with them; some robbers had no qualms about scooping an egg from beneath a setting hen and then making their getaway. I learned, too, that squirrels eat all sorts of eggs...apparently shell and all.

Once Mr. Bushy Tail exited the chicken run, he nonchalantly parked himself on a round of firewood and flipped his tail at me a time or two, gestures I interpreted, if not obscene, certainly defiant. Murderous thoughts crossed my mind and I was tempted to return with the shotgun and ventilate the gray varmint's thieving hide. Experience told me the culprit would most likely be gone by the time I returned for revenge, so I wandered to the house mulling over my options. I had to do something: my breakfast poached eggs were in jeopardy.

Now my environmentally sensitive friend Nancy L is an old squirrel trapper going way back. I fired off an email to her in which I made clear my problem and in less than two hours she appeared on our deck carrying a live trap baited with a stale peanut. After educating me to the mechanical workings of the trap, she left it along with a brusque directive that should I catch the thief, I was to transport it a few miles up Ben Howard Road, release it where it would be someone else's problem. Under no circumstances was I to let it loose on her side of the river, nor was I to release it in the park by the bridge. Her opinion was there were too many squirrels in town already. Later that afternoon I set the trap and placed it on a scrap of plywood just beyond the chicken run.

The next day, around noon, we returned from an errand in Everett. First off, I went out to check my "trapline" and found it full of squirrel, eyes as big as saucers, tail inflated whisk-broom size. Let's just say there was a frenzy of activity in a very small space, Mr. Bushy clattering around in the trap like rocks in a can kicked down the road. I placed the gyrating trap and the incarcerated in the bed of the truck and with Nancy L's "Take him way up Ben Howard" still fresh on my mind, headed north.

Six miles later I found an abandoned road approach next to a grove of budding cottonwood, a small wilderness any squirrel would love. I carried the trap to the edge of the grove, set it down and opened the trap. The squirrel shot out and vanished into the brush like a wisp of gray smoke.

I would like to say "and that's that," but this morning there was a pair of gray gangstas foraging for birdseed under our backyard maple. I baited the trap with a fresh stale peanut, reset it, and there it sits...awaiting its next passenger. Print this post

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