Meet "Mr. Tilty."
I first wrote about him in November. We realized then he has not just been a welcome resident in our yard, but he was making his home in a wooden nestbox high in our tall sycamore. We love him for many reasons. He is a symbol of courage and also of determination, living out a difficult winter with varying degrees of disability.
At times he runs and moves in a troublesome fashion, seeing the world at an angle because he lists to one side, like a slowly sinking ship.
In these photos, taken a week and a half ago, that tilt was not so evident. But today, when we saw him, the slight tipping had become a toppling. Once or twice he lost his balance altogether and was lying in the snow, however briefly. He also has an injury to one digit on the left front paw, which appears to be healing - but it is the tilting that is of concern to us now. He can run, he can climb and he can gather food.
But we are worried.
Wish him well. We are monitoring his progress, and his decline, if it continues.
If he cannot continue to make his way in the world and needs us to step in and help him, I hope he will let us. This is a tough winter for everyone - especially Mr. Tilty.