Saturday, April 22, 2006

Black Squirrels

This is a close-up of one of our black squirrels here at Pine Hill Cemetery. Apparently we are one of the few areas in the country that have Black Squirrels so I will give you the opportunity to learn a little bit about this characters. Stanley Park is a major part of our community and it is about a mile up the road from our cemetery. Stanley Beveridge is the namesake for the park as he is the one that created it and as a matter of interest, his family is interred in our cemetery.

A Westfield phenomenon since the late 1940's, the black squirrels now populate most areas of the city and have moved into surrounding communities. Because they are not indigenous to Western Massachusetts, the presence of the squirrels has led to a rather large collection of stories and tall tales as to how they got here, when, and perhaps most important, why? They were a gift to Frank Stanley Beveridge, the founder of The Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. and Stanhome Inc., from former Stanhome Inc., sales manager's, Hubert L. Worell and Alvah (Al) Elzerman. In 1948, Worell and Elserman brought the squirrels from Michigan to Westfield, Massachusetts when they were to attend a conference here at Stanhome Inc., or known at that time as Stanley Home Products. The first arrivals were kept in cages and did not adapt well to their new environment; they failed to reproduce and eventually died. Undaunted, Worell and Elserman tried again, this time bringing six squirrels, allowing them to roam free in the confines of the park. The squirrels found their new surroundings and their freedom to their liking, and were soon an established tenant of Westfield. Now black squirrels are to be found all over the Pioneer Valley and are numerous especially in the park.

Stanley Park is a valuable part of our city and people travel here from all over the world to view their gardens. The black squirrel does not go completely unnoticed here in the city because our local office supply, Conners, sells everything Black Squirrel including hard to find, right hand and matching left hand coffee cups. Check their website out and become the first in your block to have a Black Squirrel T shirt.

Squirrels are not real high on the list of some people other than for target practice. There are some squirrel haters out there that have already seen more squirrel pictures than they ever care to see again and have printed up this posting to use as target practice. Squirrels can be somewhat troublesome characters as they tend to eat everything and are capable of getting into anything in that pursuit. Why there are even one or two of them folk living right here in Westfield. In order to get them to leave their birdfeeders alone these poor little rodents are trapped unmercifully and often with Have-a-Heart type of traps. The contents of these traps are very often brought to our cemetery and released probably at the urging of “The little Woman”. We have enough squirrels on our property and often urge trappers to clean their traps at Stanley Park, just up the road a piece, as this is from whence they came. It will make some of you very happy to know that this large increase in our rodent population makes us a prime hangout for Eagles, Red-tailed Falcons and the like, as well as the Wiley Fox and other fleet of foot predetators which keeps natures balance in the proper order. The squirrel Haters amongst my faithful readers could probably even buy a Black Squirrel T shirt from Conners, paint a red target on it, and wear it to all of your shoots.

As this is a “squirrel” posting I will leave you another photo but of the other color, gray. Cute little guy! On occasion we have a brown squirrel but they tend to be a bit smaller and don’t compete very well


keewee said...

Squirrels are so cute. I was wishing we would see some around our place.
Wishes sometimes come true. I have seen a little gray squirrel twice in the last three days. I don't know if he is going to stay in the neighborhood or move on. I will be watching for him/her.

Sky Sutton said...

A friend of mine was just asking me about black squirrels in western MA- thank you for having such a sweet write-up for me to show him!

Ted said...

Nice spread of comments as Keewee comes to this blog from the Western side of Washington State and Sky Sutton is our neighbor from up Northampton way. Thanks for the comments.

bairdduvessa said...

they were one of my favorite things to experience when i went to Westfield State

Susan Livingston said...

We saw a beautiful black squirrel on the Pan Handle in Jackson Co., Florida ..I never saw one before and wonder how it got here. I wonder if it once was a pet or something.