Sunflower seeds for a friend by Celeste Mookherjee

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Soon after the encounter with the nosy squirrel seen earlier in my portfolio, I purchased some raw, unsalted sunflower seeds from Whole Foods Market and kept a bag of them in my tote. Sometimes just shaking the bag was enough to draw a squirrel or two, and I would spread some seeds on the ground or in the crook of a tree.

This little girl was just too eager and couldn’t wait for me to spread seeds; she first thrust her snout into the seeds in my hand and then steadied herself with her little paws while she nibbled. Here I was feeding her from my left hand and shooting one-handed while she ate. Over a period of weeks, she always came to greet me and get her seeds; meanwhile she grew fatter and fatter, apparently an expectant mother. I hoped to see her babies but never did, but her friendship and recognition gave me precious memories. The garden later put a stop to all feeding of animals (liability issues being what they are), so photos like this may still be possible but could now get one into a bit of trouble. (Olympus E-5 & Zuiko 50mm macro, f/6.3, 1/100 sec., ISO 500, open shade, handheld.)

Top 10 (3rd Place) in “In a hand” challenge in Absolute Clarity group (October 2012)

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Passionate about photography, especially nature subjects!

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My work is NOT in the Public Domain. My work is protected under U.S. and International Copyright and may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, edited, altered, published, distributed, or transmitted via any medium without my express written permission IN ADVANCE. Please do NOT pin my work on Pinterest. All images are copyright ©2004-2015, Celeste Mookherjee, all rights reserved.

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  • Celeste Mookherjee
    Celeste Mookhe...over 2 years ago

  • Joy Watson
    Joy Watsonover 2 years ago

    Great capture and fantastic details. A great trust she developed with you.
    (I’m getting friendly with a blue tongue lizard that lives down the road from me. He had lost part of his tail. It has mended but now has a curve at the end and not a point. He would be about a foot long. Always great to see wild life.
    Beautiful work.

  • Thank you so much, Joy! I might have known you would understand how special this series of squirrel encounters was for me. I’m so glad you are making friends with a lizard! Yes, these connections with wildlife are indeed precious.

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 2 years ago

    Great shot!

  • Thank you, Cindy!

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Maisie Sinclair
    Maisie Sinclairover 2 years ago

    Awwww, how adorable! :-) I love this!

  • Thanks very much, Maisie! It was a special moment. :)

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • KatMagic Photography
    KatMagic Photo...over 2 years ago

    Such a sweet image, Celeste, and a nice story to go with it. I often find people overlook our little friends and yet when you stop to allow one a treat as you did.. you do see they are full of personliaty and, of course, lead such tough lives and are so grateful for a little hand-out from us I regularly feed a chipmunk that I can tell apart from others by a scar on his face. He renovates his little den quite often and it’s so funny to see a pile of dirt at one entrance to his den while he works on another entrance (they always have two entrances)….engaging and entertaining.

    Pity you couldn’t see the little ones that your friend here had but nice you have photos and you even take excellent photos of a squirrel eating out of your hand…!

  • Thank you, Katherine. I’m not the least surprised that you would understand and take this little story to heart. Interesting about your chipmunk friend and how you know him by a scar. That was also the case for me and this little squirrel, as I always recognized the black curve over her nose.

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Laurie Search
    Laurie Searchover 2 years ago

    Aww, just adorable, Celeste!!! :)))

  • Thank you, Laurie! She was quite the little cutie. :)

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Felix Haryanto
    Felix Haryantoover 2 years ago

    You are so kind and full of love Celeste, this is so cute!
    I guess the reason we need to stop feeding the wild is to prevent them become agresive and harm people, also to protect them from getting wrong type of food.

  • Thank you, Felix! I do understand the reasons for not feeding the wild creatures, but I certainly enjoyed my special relationship with this squirrel for a time (and I only brought her raw, unprocessed sunflower seeds).

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Bette Devine
    Bette Devineover 2 years ago

    Delightful. Here we are always asked not to feed the native animals!

  • Thanks, Bette. The same is typically true here within any kind of regulated areas (this garden is part of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation). They used to sort of “look the other way” but then posted signs about not feeding the creatures.

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Christine Annas
    Christine Annasover 2 years ago

    This is the sweetest picture, Celeste! How kind and thoughtful of you to make friends with and feed a little squirrel. And great job on the one handed shot : )

  • Thank you, dear Chris! I couldn’t refuse her desire to make friends. :)

    – Celeste Mookherjee

  • Thomas Eggert
    Thomas Eggertover 2 years ago


  • True, true – and here I was feeding her only the best of organic raw seeds without additives. :) Thanks, Thomas.

    – Celeste Mookherjee

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