Glancing through my kitchen window I was startled to see a furry tailed fuzzy brown-haired creature jerkily moving across my concrete driveway. I could see an oval-shaped green object twice as large as the animal’s head preceding the creature’s halting steps. Closer examination revealed a squirrel clinching in its mouth an avocado. I didn’t even know squirrels liked avocados.
This rodent made halting movements toward the red flowering geranium bed growing by my front door entryway. Suddenly, a flash of low-flying gray feathers with a flick of white and a long tail landed on the driveway only a couple feet from the squirrel. This mockingbird’s less colorful female companion soon landed nearby to join her partner in the harassing-sounding chatter that was clearly directed at the squirrel.
Undeterred the squirrel persisted in dragging the huge avocado closer to my home’s brick entryway. Those geranium leaf covered vines overflowing in the colorful flowered bed next to the walkway were soon revealed to be the squirrel's destination. The animal’s final effort resulted in a forward lurch with the sudden dropping of the avocado down into the lush green leaves which quickly hid this dark green treasure once the parted leaves closed over what had been hastily selected to be a secret hiding place.
I was relieved that no neighborhood felines prone to stalking were in sight since my favored mockingbird couple was now fluttering about almost at ground level. They were obviously alarmed with the intrusion of this uninvited visitor into an area these birds apparently considered their own. They were carefully observing the whole process, including the location of what had become the squirrel’s avocado vault. His deposit completed, the warily alert squirrel sat upright on his haunches, frozen momentarily, then with his bushy tail flitting behind, scurried across my driveway to seek seclusion underneath my auto.
I was entranced with this whole brief escapade, curious to know if there would be further resolution. The mockingbirds flew upward into a nearby tree, suggesting that they had selected my home and yard as their territory. The squirrel remained out of my sight. Continuing to survey the area, I observed no further activity. Finally, I decided I needed to devote myself to other matters and reluctantly left my window view.
Considerable time passed before I returned to gaze out my window. No creatures in view. Stepping outside I cautiously and carefully investigated the area where I had seen the squirrel hide the avocado. No avocado to be seen! No squirrel in sight as I visually surveyed the area. No mockingbirds observed in the surrounding trees.
I’m disappointingly reconciled to the realization that I will never know what happened to that avocado. Surely the mockingbirds would not have speared it with one of their beaks, much less be able to transport such weight in flight. If any sneaky crows were watching they might brazenly have had the capability of requisitioning the avocado, but I hadn’t heard any of their raucous calls. The mockingbirds would have dive-bombed the crows causing loud protestations had those large black birds intruded on the scene. Opossums, raccoons, coyotes, bears, mountain lions likely were not out and about during these early afternoon daylight hours. Other squirrels? I hadn’t seen any, but I don’t know. Is there honor among squirrels even if they did spy on the avocado affair?
I like to think the squirrel I observed returned and spirited away his treasure. Yet, I do wonder, if there were other creatures observing that I hadn’t noticed who might have taken the avocado for their own?
Hope you’re not disappointed after reading the above since this tale is for the birds, as I would be the first to admit. The only nut, as so frequently associated with squirrels, is this writer -- at least in this tale.
Remember this song from many years ago which was considered a pop tune played on practically every radio station? The original early 1950s recording by The Pinetoppers, along with information reported to be from a family member about the composer brothers and others, can be viewed on YouTube at the link that follows though the video has been withdrawn from sharing through embedding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF8ThtYYvmg
“Mockin’ Bird Hill” was eventually categorized as country music, becoming commercially popular, especially when Patti Page recorded the tune.