For most of the month, it has been business as usual at our feeder. Other than a cat that’s been hanging around the past week or so (a Siamese named Thor, more on him later!), there are no new additions to our usual cast of characters. Our squirrels, chipmunks and birds all seem to be doing well. The female cowbird we call Catherine has shown up more in the past couple of weeks, and I wonder if she’s reaching her egg-laying peak. Cowbirds lay anywhere between 40 and 70 eggs in a summer, and the average is about 50, so it stands to reason she’d need more nourishment if she’s in this reproductive frenzy. The squirrel I call Gracie has been trying to figure out how to get on the feeder, and she finally went for it this morning. At first, she tried directly climbing up the pole, only to slide down every time. She didn’t make the connection between the solar lights and climbing on them to get on the feeder, so she just went for it and jumped from the ground. After a few misplaced gymnastics maneuvers, she landed on it and figured out how to hook her back paws on the tray while she gathered some treats. I was cheering her on as I watched, and I think squirrels must be smarter than we give them credit for. You could just see her little wheels spinning as she came up with a plan to get her breakfast — it was amazing! This start to my day is what I love about having a bird feeder and communing with nature.