I once had a squirrel train me. Yes, I started it, by placing an almond in front of him. Later the squirrel would come near me and with his rascally little eyes entreat me to run into the house for his almond. Soon I was, with a gloved hand, holding out the almond for him to take. He cautiously would approach me, stretch out his little paw and stabilize my hand and reach with his mouth for the almond. This went on for for some time. I well trained by this time would daily run into the house for his almond. One day I ran into the house and grabbed his almond and without a gloved hand held it out for him. But, by this time he was without fear and instead of his slow cautious approach to me, he came at me "squirrel style" fast and accurate. I panicked, dropped the almond and found my ungloved finger in his mouth. I stood very still and gently spoke to him saying "it's OK, open your mouth, let me go" and for what seemed a long time we looked at each other. He with my index finger in his mouth. I knew I was in trouble. In past years I had grown large sunflowers. I have seen a squirrel go up a thick stock and bite the sunflower head off and carry his prize up a tree! But, thankfully he let me go and I am able to write this post with all my digits.
We rarely see a bunny in our yard. Maybe it's the cats or the local dogs which keep the bunnies from populating. One day a tiny little bunny found my yard. I named him DB for dumb bunny. I told him he was safe in my yard, but should he leave this property he would probably die. DB ate pretty much whatever he wanted. I have lots and lots to share. He picked a clump of daylilies as his favorite bed. He became very accustomed to me. I'd talk to him as I weeded and watered and he never showed fear. Sometimes while he was resting I'd peak at him in his daylily clump, and at times he would stretch, showing me his tummy. When he was nibbling a choice plant I would say no, maybe gently get his attention with a spray of water in his direction and he would move over to another plant. I think this relationship would of worked. But, DB was well named and one day how can I say this nicely: I found him squished in the alley.
The Chinese Ring-neck Pheasant is the South Dakota state bird. It was introduced in 1908. It has flourished. You can find them in the local grasslands. One fall day a pheasant flew into our yard. I watched him from afar. He paced back and forth until he figured out that he had to leave the same way he came. Up!
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