Thelonious Munk sits down for an alfresco meal at a wooden table. He eagerly picks up a taco prepared with a walnut flour tortilla, which he sniffs before taking a few nibbles. He lingers for a bit after his meal before leaving. He scampers into a bush and through a tunnel — because he isn’t checking out the latest vegan restaurant, but is instead a wild chipmunk.
He lives in the writer Angela Hansberger’s yard outside of Atlanta where, like many backyard critters around the country, he’s been eating like a king at a squirrel table everyday since April.
Squirrel tables have emerged as one of the quirkiest trends of the pandemic. Resembling miniature picnic tables, they’re typically made from cedar or pine, and measure about 8 by 5 inches. People affix them to fences or trees, or sometimes arrange them on the ground. Although called “squirrel tables,” people lay out a selection of nuts and seeds for any backyard creature, be it squirrel, chipmunk or groundhog.
The trend seems to have started in March, when Rick Kalinowski, an unemployed plumber in Bryn Mawr, Pa., posted a series of pictures of a squirrel feeder in the Facebook group “All About Squirrels.” In one widely shared picture, a squirrel sits at the table attached to a fence and grasps peanuts with its little hands.
The sight of the animal doing something so humanlike and peculiar captured the hearts of thousands. People who suddenly had more time on their hands were delighted with the prospect of having their own squirrel tables. There are hundreds for sale on
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