Squirrely Driver

Although her subjects tend to be a little “squirrely,” hours of waiting and a little luck paid off for Washington photographer Tammi Elbert.

Elbert captured a gray squirrel “crashing” a toy jeep into a tree and that photo captured Elbert second prize in the backyard habitat category of the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) annual photo contest.

“I was really excited,” she said. “The picture was cute, but I didn’t expect to win.”

Elbert initially set up a “squirrel playground” in her backyard with creative feeders and several toys in hopes of capturing enough photos to publish a squirrel calendar.

At the last minute, she decided to enter the NWF’s photo contest.

“I’m a real procrastinator,” she said. “I actually missed the first deadline to upload my pictures, but they extended the deadline for five days.”

Elbert said she started uploading pictures on the last day of the extended deadline just minutes before the cutoff time. The NWF allowed each contestant 10 pictures, but Elbert only had time to upload seven.

“The last one was the squirrel picture,” she said.

Elbert said she has entered the contest several times, and although she has never won anything until now, a couple of her photos have appeared in the organization’s magazine.

Although squirrels migrate and Elbert’s little group is gone, she started putting out corn for a new group in hopes of bribing them into participating in her next project — a rally squirrel in a Cardinals red convertible.