One part ant farm, one part Discovery Channel, Kenneth Feldman’s view from his Brooklyn apartment is a hybrid of pawesomeness. For a second year in a row, a momma squirrel has come to nest in Kenneth’s window, which overlooks an empty lot.
The room, which is a relatively empty and quiet room his wife can practice yoga in, features two windows, one of which leads out to the fire escape that is enclosed by a mesh security gate. One day, in July 2009, Kenneth walked into the room and saw a wad of stuff in the corner of the window, just outside the glass but contained by the gate. Upon a second look, he realized that not only had a squirrel made a nest, but she was in the process of giving birth. At that moment.
With this little miracle, not only were three tiny baby squirrels born, but so was Kenneth’s website, appropriately named, The Squirrel In Our Window. Over the past year, Kenneth has chronicled the birth and growth of three litters.
Like any good working mom, Momma Squirrel is home at night with her babies but goes out during the day, returning to feed them every few hours. When she’s not home, the babies stay piled together in the nest, crawling over and under each other, and then just sleeping. When Momma’s done feeding them, she’ll move to the other side of the window sill, and lay out on her back and nap.
For some reason, Momma Squirrel only lives in the nest when she’s in need of a maternity ward. With each litter, the baby squirrels stay in the nest for at least 6-8 weeks or more; their eyes don’t open until about the 6th week. Once that happens, she moves the babies out, but with this last litter, rent must have been raised because she moved a bit earlier, around 5 weeks, after a heavy bout of rain. The nest in the window is quite sheltered, but not against a driving rain blowing from the south.
“We love having the squirrel and her babies in our window, because we have such an intimate view of nature’s process,” Kenneth told Pawesome. “A young mother caring for her children, building a shelter, feeding and cleaning them. It’s beautiful to watch how careful and gentle she is with them. And to see how utterly helpless they would be without her, and then how comfortable they all look curled up on her up-turned belly, feeding on her milk. It’s mesmerizing to sit and watch her and her little family.”
Kenneth built a foam core blind to cover the window, leaving one or two viewing ports for him and his wife to peer through to check in on the babies. “I put a small rectangular viewing slot in the cardboard so that we can look through with just our eyes,” wrote on his blog. “I read that it’s the shape/outline of the human body that they react to. With the slot in the cardboard, she can only see our eyes, not our bodies.”
I am totally jealous. The only thing that I have growing in my window is dust, which I guess can sometimes ball up and form a blob animal. It’s not even close to being as pawesome as a squirrel family. For more photographs of Momma Squirrel and her brood, check out the squirrel pictures or videos posted on The Squirrel In Our Window.
Thanks for the tip Cassie and Pete!