It is illegal to return a grey squirrel to the wild in Britain

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Since September, grey squirrels have been seen collecting all the nuts and fruits they can find and storing them underground, in various parts of the garden. A friend told me that nearly every walnut had been stripped from his tree and that he had found some of them buried while gardening. Throughout the winter squirrels will come and dig up these provisions, laid down in the autumn, even when the ground is covered in snow. Squirrels do not hibernate, but in winter go out less frequently. They keep warm in their nests, called dreys, high up in the trees, using their bushy tails as a blanket, wrapped around themselves to keep warm.
By Spring, especially if it has been a hard winter, squirrels can be seen more frequently, appearing thin, and looking for food. One year. many years ago, now, a lone grey squirrel repeatedly arrived near my front door. It seems that she had connected humans with food and had found the courage, born of desperation, to approach one.
 This started me on a rescue mission for squirrels, purchasing nuts for them together with my shopping!  Soon crowds of other squirrels, as well as Fluffy, as I called her, started gathering outside my door and became annoyed, with teeth chattering, if the food ran out.  I gradually wound the rescue mission down, as their food supplies became more plentiful in the summer.
The following year, I noticed a movement by my front door, and surprisingly the lone squirrel had returned.  I recognised Fluffy , because she had a bitten ear. She was accompanied by a small squirrel, who was clearly her offspring, as the little one had a paw draped around her neck.  It was a wonderful moment to interact with a wild creature, overcoming the distance that usually exists between species.
Rescued squirrels have been taken in and cared for by individuals. (It is illegal to return a grey squirrel to the wild in Britain, as they are viewed as pests.)  Squirrels interact with great affection with their keepers, but they have needs for exercise and climbing, which are demanding. I will continue to enjoy seeing squirrels outdoors, while being aware of the difficulties they face as wild creatures.
In Summer
Squirrels run
Through hazy days
Of pear and plum
And honey bees
hover in the cherry trees
In Autumn
Squirrels run
Through golden leaves
A fading sun
Gigantic chestnuts
Falling fruit
A squirrel’s loot
In Winter
Squirrels run
The ground is frozen
Still they come
The branches bare
Reveal the dreys
Set against
the stormy greys
In Spring
Squirrels run
The ground relents
Approaching sun
Each buried nut
They find by scent
And leave behind
A squirrel’s dent

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