Squirrels star in Ontario couple's elaborate backyard photo shoots
'I'd swear they told their buddies to come,' says photographer Daryl Granger
As people across Canada find creative ways to pass the extra hours at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an Ontario couple has found a new hobby that has both humans and critters going nuts.
Daryl Granger and his wife Karen are both photographers who own and operate RoseLe Studio in Simcoe, Ont.
"We spend a lot of time in the backyard and we noticed, 'gosh there's a lot of squirrels,' so we thought 'why not set up a photo shoot,'" Granger told CBC News on Monday.
"As you know, everybody has a lot of time on their hands. We're used to doing creative photo shoots, but we couldn't because of the pandemic."
In the span of four weeks, Granger has built two outdoor sets to attract squirrels to his yard, and he says a third one is in the works.
"The first one, we named it Nutzy's Country Market and we built all the wooden food bins and everything," Granger explained.
"The last one [which was completed on Saturday] is a peanut butter factory, and I am working on one, a nut vault — so it will show the squirrels looking like they are trying to get into a bank vault filled with nuts."
Nutzy's Country Market features an assortment of nuts, including almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, while the peanut butter factory is filled with — you guessed it — peanut butter.
The couple spends hours in their backyard each day watching the creatures explore and snack on the treats.
"All these squirrels have personalities. You just see them interacting on a set and it's like they're hungry for nuts. They climb all over things," Granger said.
"Since we put the nuts there, I'd swear they told their buddies to come, I'd say the total we have is about 10. You see them coming from all different directions. We feed them nuts, so of course they're going to come."
Blue jays joined in the fun
In addition to the squirrels, Granger said there have also been some other special visitors.
"We had cardinals show up [and also] blue jays," Granger said.
"Blue jays, they like peanuts. We had about four jays that kept coming into the set every now and then, and they weren't afraid of the squirrels. It's like they all want food."
'It's very entertaining'
Granger says he enjoys every moment of their new-found hobby.
'It's very entertaining. The sets are fun to build, and you have your time that you have to kill so I'll probably do it for a while," he said.
"Even my dogs are getting used to it. They used to chase the squirrels but now they're getting better and they're lying beside me and watching the squirrels."
The couple has been sharing their photos on their Facebook page, and based on the reactions, they have brought pure joy to many.
"Haha, I love this … I should do something for my chipmunks. They love their peanuts," was Jimi Green's reaction.
For Brian Deryck, it was simply: "This is fantastic."
And Suzanne Avey's comment was: "This is exactly the kind of humour we all need right now. Thank you."