During the past few weeks, while spending time with a loved one at the hospital, I sometimes took breaks and wandered through the health center’s grounds.  Eventually, I would sit on a bench and look around as I tried to breathe.  My tension lessened when I focused on something familiar like the squirrels that darted between the trees. 

Eastern Gray Squirrel
Image by RGY23 from Pixabay

Though the situation that brought me here seemed chaotic and uncertain, the natural world could still coax a smile.  That squirrel I was watching would run down the tree trunk and over to the base of another bench.  There it would pause, look around, then make a gesture with its fore-paw fingers before taking off for the bushes.   The squirrel repeated this routine at least five times. What was it doing with its paws?  Praying for a safe journey? Rubbing its hands in expectation of some delicious seeds? Was it aggravated by the many people walking by and therefore exhibiting anxiety or aggression?  Perhaps it was just a quirky individual habit. 

I had never seen a behavior quite like this before and I thought I knew squirrels fairly well.  It’s interesting to realize that as much as we already know about these creatures, there is still a lot more we can learn.  

For this week’s challenge, observe some creature (bird, animal, insect, etc.) you think you already know well.  Watch it for at least 20 minutes.  During that time, I’ll bet you see something you never noticed before.  

Extra points for documenting your observations!

This challenge is rated as easy. 

2 thoughts on “Nature Challenge – Observing the Known

  1. Аркадий says:

    Exploring Nature In Around Your Home: The iNaturalist staff created this guide for participating in the City Nature Challenge where you live. Wildlife Viewing Tips : Here are Top 10 Tips for Observing Wildlife, recommended by the Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis Zoo.  

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