By Tonie Harrison

It was late in the evening on a cold and rainy night when I heard a constant knocking sound coming from outside.  Going out to the back patio, the sound grew louder as I followed it to the edge where the downspout ties to the house.  It was definitely coming from inside the spout, and suddenly I realized that something was inside trying to get out.  My husband disconnected the tubing that takes the runoff underground and to my surprise, there was the most pathetic squirrel.  She was soaking wet, exhausted from hours of trying to climb out, and very near being washed away. I reached down to pull her out, and she reached up to be saved.

I took her inside, dried her and wrapped her in a nice warm towel. I gave her a bed inside a box with plenty of fruit, nuts, and water.  She must have stayed up all night feasting because the food was completely gone the next morning, and she was sleeping it off. That day I released her to a grove of trees in the backyard.

Three weeks later and another rainy night, I heard the knocking sound again.  It was coming from the downspout just like before.  Same squirrel, same place, different time.  We went through the same routine as before.  The next.morning my husband checked the top of the downspout where he discovered a small, poorly built nest.

We found the perfect tree close to the gutter and placed a wooden nest box on a nearby branch.  We released our fat and happy squirrel to her new quarters.  I’m happy to say that our little “Downspout” squirrel is now peeking out at us from her new safe home. We covered all of the openings to the downspouts with wire mesh to ensure no further surprises.

Have you checked your downspouts lately?