The Elusive Red-Tailed Squirrel Bird


Today I’m sharing another bird photo. Recognize it?  It is the ever so elusive red-tailed squirrel bird, a member of the Pesticus rodentiae squirrelicus species. This particular one showed up on our back porch just yesterday morning. Now, lest you think it is just an ordinary squirrel, pay more attention to the picture and the context. What self-respecting squirrel would even dare to drink out of a bird bath?  It’s a BIRD bath, for Pete’s sake, not a squirrel waterer! I have never talked to a single squirrel that would deign to drink from a bird bath…it would be too embarrassing and all the other squirrels would never let it live it down, so it must be the red-tailed squirrel bird! I feel so fortunate to have been able to even get a glimpse of one, let alone a photo of one that I could share with you.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle, one of a group of American bombers based in Britain, became the first B-17 crew to complete 25 missions over Europe.

The Memphis Belle performed its 25th and last mission, in a bombing raid against Lorient, a German submarine base. But before returning back home to the United States, film footage was shot of Belle‘s crew receiving combat medals. This was but one part of a longer documentary on a day in the life of an American bomber, which included dramatic footage of a bomber being shot out of the sky, with most of its crew parachuting out, one by one. Another film sequence showed a bomber returning to base with its tail fin missing. What looked like damage inflicted by the enemy was, in fact, the result of a collision with another American bomber.

The Memphis Belle documentary would not be released for another 11 months, as more footage was compiled to demonstrate the risks these pilots ran as they bombed “the enemy again and again and again—until he has had enough.” The film’s producer, Lieutenant Colonel William Wyler, was known for such non-military fare as The Letter, Wuthering Heights, and Jezebel.

A fictional film about the B-17, called Memphis Belle, was released in 1990, starring John Lithgow, Matthew Modine, and Eric Stoltz.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: according to Hebrew legend, Noah prayed to God for help protecting all the food he stored on the ark from being eaten by rats. In reply, God made the lion sneeze, and out popped a cat.


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