Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Two: Case File No. 35-87
AMBER LOVE 14-JAN-2019 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.Where we left off:
Gus murdered Kyra Sedgewren at the maple tree. He showed little regret. The kill was expedient. He would have preferred playing with her longer.
At the beginning of winter, Gus displayed signs of boredom because there were no critters in the yard anymore. Everyone is hibernating except for a couple of squirrels. In order to bring more life to the far back of the property, we set up a new bird feeder which hangs down from a low branch on the maple tree. When Gus is bored, it usually means he’ll get into trouble.
I’ve heard different things about feeding birds. One method is to not feed them during winter months because it can screw up their migration patterns. However, not all birds in New Jersey migrate during winter. We have also had plenty of rain so that brought up worms and I’m sure the birds had a great time eat those. Nonetheless, I don’t think setting out a brick of bird seed every week or so will damage the birds here. Chickadees, tufted titmouses (I still don’t know if that’s the right plural), nuthatches, cardinals, and woodpeckers are winter birds. They absolutely LOVE these bird seed bricks.
So do the squirrels.
I began explaining the squirrel situation in the previous case file, Wrenegade. I believe there may be two squirrels in the front of the property who super jump to the feeder attached to the porch with a flag pole. In the back, it may be only one extremely clever bushy-tailed critter stealing the bricks from the cage.
Due to the persistent style of the thief at the maple tree, I’ve named it Parker. Gus can spot Parker from clear across the yard with an acre between them. Before he even gets close, Parker will let go of the cage and drop all the way down to the ground! I worry for the little thing. But both times I’ve witnessed this daredevil behavior, Parker is able to run away through the bushes, across Bunny Hollow and up into the trees in the woods.
Gus has tried to make contact with Parker. I’m not quite sure if Gus is willing to negotiate on the birds’ behalf or if he simply wants to murder Parker for the fun of it. This is Gus so… could go either way but probably leans towards the murdery approach. We’ve seen the evidence. The cage has a latch on it. It’s not Fort Knox, but still, there’s a latch. Parker can open the door and pull out the bird seed bricks. We found a half of brick in tact on the ground once. There was some damage with a circle of seeds dispersed, but otherwise it was still together. I picked it up and returned it to the cage.
I thought that by now, the squirrels would have stored enough peanuts that they wouldn’t need to resort to such thieving ways. Is it possible that it’s just part of their DNA? Like maybe they’re born to steal? Does that make them inherently “bad” critters? I still love them so what does that say about me?
As much as I like Parker and the other squirrels, I worry about the birds now. They must have eaten plenty all these years before the new feeder went up. I guess they ate elsewhere. I still want this to be a welcoming place for them — as much as that’s possible with Gus stalking them for an hour a day.
Oliver has been on a few excursions up the mountain with his butler. From his carriage, he’s spotted more booby traps. He’s better at communicating with the other animals than Gus. Ollie talks to them through the screen of his carriage or through the glass windows at the house. I think Oliver’s relationship with the squirrels is why the Supreme Court of Squirrels was so lenient with Gus when he had all those brutality charges.
Needless to say, Oliver thinks Gus should observe Parker, and the birds for the matter, without pursuing them. Gus doesn’t always have an excuse, but he’s created a circular paradox sort of thing with this situation. He needs to capture the birds to interrogate them about Parker; but he needs to capture Parker so that there’s food for the birds he wants to chase for fun.
When we ran out of bird seed bricks for the feeder, I made one of my favorite old timey crafts. Coating pine cones in peanut butter and rolling them in bird seed. On the second day, the entire string of pine cones was gone. It’s no coincidence that I personally witnessed a squirrel darting into the bushes as I stepped out the door.
As it stands, we know who the culprit is. It’s Parker, the world’s greatest thief. Though we even have some blurry photographic evidence, it seems unlikely Gus will be able to stop the theft of bird seed bricks from happening. Parker won’t quit. Parker loves to steal. That’s how it is and Gus should accept that. The birds might not be too happy about this whole situation. That means a lot less seed for their bellies.
Suspect: Parker, at large
We can try leaving out more peanuts at the exits off of Bunny Hollow so that Parker and other squirrels will be less tempted to steal the bird seed from the maple tree.