The moment I announced we were heading to the park after breakfast, excitement immediately started to rise. The boys, especially Chris, began hunting down the clothes they were going to wear. Chris stuck to his thought that he didn’t get a blue jay or squirrel to eat out of his hands because he wasn’t wearing green. So, he found his camouflage pants that his uncle bought him for helping out at his house. He found every piece of green he could possibly put on his body – shirt, scarf, hat…I think he would have asked me to paint his face if it had occurred to him to ask.
Justin had a little bit different plan…as Justin usually does. He decided to wear all blue. To attract the blue jays, of course.
The car comes to a stop in the parking lot of the rose gardens and I turn the engine off. The back doors immediately open and the boys are eagerly waiting by the car as if only being held back by an invisible leash. We look both ways, cross the street, and watch the boys run in a blur ahead of us as Niki and myself try to keep up.
We return to “our spot” and at first glance, only one squirrel is roaming through the grass. I scatter a small handful of squirrel food and we wait. Within seconds, squirrels are scampering down the trees and cautiously approaching the food.
Niki is left in shock. “I’ve never seen so many squirrels in one spot. Now I’m really jealous you went without me last time.”
The boys assume their positions and Niki pours food into her brothers’ hands.
The squirrels soon found themselves surrounded by us. They checked us out. Jutted away with any quick movements we made. Even the click of my camera would send them running. I had to choose carefully when to snap a photo. Afterall, I did not want to be blamed for running them off.
Can you find all four of my kids in this photo? Zach blends into the ground the best in this picture.
This is what happens when your sister comes along. She placed peanuts on Justin’s back. I will give her credit that it did make him stay still at least.
We didn’t get any of the animals to eat out of our hands but we have learned techniques we will use on our third attempt. I think this is a good experience for the kids to learn that you keep tweaking your technique until you get the desired effect – science in the works!
This time around, we learned that if you want the squirrels or blue jays to come to you for food:
- Do not put ANY food out, even to attract them, unless it’s next to you
- Do not give the youngest child a handful of food because he will drop it on the ground far away and the squirrels will go to it instead
- Go even earlier in the morning so other people at the park do not take pictures of us trying to feed the squirrels and blue jays and thus scare the animals away
- Peanuts are squirrels and blue jays favorite
- Put the youngest child on the outskirts of our circle because he doesn’t have the patience to sit still and not scare off animals when they get close