One of the little bushes just outside the window of my office rustled, so much so that they caught my eye. A black furry tail poked out of the bush; one of the fat black squirrels 1 that lives on the church grounds was in the bush. I was surprised that it bore its weight.

Five minutes went by. The bushes started rustling again. This time, it was a gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). I realized that a couple of Oregon Juncos (Junco hyenalis oreganus) were chirping at the squirrel; maybe the juncos were nesting in the bush and the squirrel was going after their eggs! I ran outside and scared the squirrel away. I looked quickly in the bush for a nest, didn’t see one, then retreated into my office because if there is a nest I don’t want to drive the birds away from it.

The juncos are still noisily chirping away. The squirrels have returned to stealing food from the trash cans. I still don’t know if there’s a nest out there or not.


A gray squirrel came back (perhaps the same one again), and nosed around beneath the bushes outside my window. A junco harassed it constantly, chirping, flying at the squirrel’s head, causing the squirrel to duck and twitch. At last the squirrel gave up, and scampered off with the junco chasing it.

1 Melanistic form of the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), an invasive species which has been introduced into the San Francisco Bay region.

2 thoughts on “Spring

  1. Paul Swendson

    I don’t know how urban the area is where your office is located. It’s easy to forget that cities don’t wipe out nature. Sometimes, it is easy to make too sharp of a distinction between urban life and the “natural world.”

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