The new owners cut down the big Linden tree in our old backyard. New meaning ten years ago. It was a gorgeous tree, but messy. I cannot even imagine how much brighter the family room would be without that behemoth blocking the sun. My husband built a treehouse in that tree, with a trap door that closed behind you. Our son thought it was the greatest place ever. Until the squirrel incident.
One day, it was probably twelve or thirteen years ago, I was in my kitchen and heard the most god-awful screeching. High pitched. Loud. And sustained. I went outside to see what the heck was going on, and was horrified to see an enormous crow pecking at the underbelly of a baby squirrel. It was the squirrel that was making the noise. I chased the crow off, and the baby squirrel ran away. Under my car. Into the engine area under the hood. Still screeching.
It was such an unbearable noise, made SO much worse by knowing what had caused it. I tried to wait it out, hoping the squirrel would find its way out of my car, and into its nest. When it was clear that was not happening, I called the animal control officer.
Our town, while not exactly rural, does have its share of animal-related events, a few of which have made our police log:
5:21 A.M. Caller reported seeing a dead cat in the road on Casino Road and Atlantic Avenue. DPW and animal control officer were notified. ACO reported that the animal turned out to be a raccoon.
7:37 A.M. A caller said a bird on a Lindsay Street porch was acting “catatonic”.
6:56 P.M. A baby opossum was reported in a filing cabinet at a Washington Street address.
8:21 AM A caller from Harbor View Lane reported a skunk “not walking well”.
1:25 P.M. A skinny dog was found on Devereux Beach.
3:28 A.M. A caller saw a coyote or fox with a cat in its mouth sauntering down Homestead Road.
7:59 P.M. A mouse with three broken legs was brought to the police station.
7:54 A.M. A Village Street resident reported a squirrel stuck in a pool.
1:42 P.M. A Pond Street resident reported a cat brought a bird into the house.
10:18 A.M. Officer Lori Cameron rescued five baby ducklings, among a flock of 11 ducklings, who fell into a storm drain on Cloutman’s Lane . Cameron said the mother duck was frantic, hearing the babies quacking in the drain, but a contractor working in the area lifted the drain cover and she used a pool skimmer to fish the ducklings up, one at a time, to a delighted Mama Duck. The incident followed a similar incident on Orne Street about two weeks earlier.
1:17 P.M. Report of a tree fire ignited by an electrocuted squirrel on Phillips Street.
7:47 P.M. A West Shore resident reported that a raccoon in her back yard refused to leave and her children were concerned that the Easter Bunny wouldn’t be able to come to the house.
2:39 P.M. A caller reported a seal in distress at the Village Street pier. According to the report, the seal was OK and just sunning itself.
Back to the story. Our busy animal control officer arrived a bit later, and went to work at getting the baby squirrel out from under the hood of my car. At which point the baby squirrel ran under the animal control officer’s car, and somehow got itself into the wheel well. The animal control officer has a lot of skills, but automobile mechanic is not one of them. She called for reinforcements from the town maintenance department.
At this point, most of the neighborhood children and some of their parents had joined us to watch the events unfold. The maintenance guys went to work trying to get the wheel off, but did not have the right equipment. They called in the Parks guys, who were successful, and the animal control officer removed the baby squirrel. And put it back in our back yard. At which point it ran onto our back porch and leaped onto the screen door. Fully splayed, clinging and once again screeching. The onlooking children were terrified and also started screaming.
I looked out and saw what I assumed was the mama squirrel making her slow way onto the porch. I shushed all the children so as not to scare her off. Steadily she approached and just as she reached out to grab the baby squirrel, she dropped him. The children started screaming again, the mama squirrel ran away and the baby squirrel ran across the porch and onto the other screen door. I know at this point you think I must be making this $hi! up, but I assure you I am not.
The mama squirrel again began her trek to the back porch. Slowly, slowly she crept up and onto the porch. She grabbed her baby in her mouth and ran back up the tree presumably safely to her nest. The children never went into that tree house again. RIP Londonderry Linden.