“I’m sure that squirrel is spying on us,” said Kit. “You only just threw out those crusts and it’s already eating them.”
Sure enough, Dash the squirrel was nibbling the bread crusts Kit’s mum had thrown out. It was Dash’s fifth breakfast.
No animal could match his sneaky food spying skills – not even the birds, who spent too much time flapping and squawking. Dash had it down to a fine art. Tummy low, claws gripping tightly, he’d scurry along the branches and blend into the tree bark to keep a look-out. He was Spy Squirrel – always on a mission for the next tasty bite!
“It’s not fair,” peeped the robin one day. “He always gets there first and barely leaves a crumb for anyone else. He even eats the food from our bird feeders.”
The other birds chirped in agreement. “My chicks went hungry the other day because Dash scoffed all the seeds!” tweeted a greenfinch.
“Well, birds of a feather should flock together,” said the robin, “and I have a plan.” The birds huddled together to find out more.
The next day, just after the dawn chorus, the birds hid in the old oak tree at the end of Kit’s garden.
“No feather flapping and absolutely no squawking!” warned the robin.
The lights flicked on in Kit’s kitchen and the birds watched him sit down at the breakfast table and yawn.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the garden, Dash was tightrope-walking along the washing line. He leapt onto the apple tree and stood statue-still.
Back in the kitchen, Kit was finishing his second slice of peanut butter on toast – and leaving his crusts, as usual. Dash watched him greedily.
Moments later, Mum threw out Kit’s crusts and the animals sprang to life. Hundreds of birds flew down from one side of the garden, and Dash darted across from the other side.
As Dash sped towards the crusts, he became aware of a whirlwind of flapping wings and flying feathers. By the time he reached the crusts, they were surrounded by a barrier of birds, who looked angry.
“Don’t come any closer, Spy Squirrel! These crusts are ours,” said the robin.
“But I always have breakfast here,” cried Dash.
“You have breakfast everywhere!” said the robin, despairing. “And lunch and dinner – and you steal it from our feeders. Our chicks are starving!”
“It’s not my fault I’m a super food spy!”
“But it will be your fault when there are no birds left and the humans stop putting out food for us!”
Dash hadn’t thought of that. “So what do you want me to do?” he asked. “Stop being so greedy!” squawked the birds. “Learn to share!”
Dash realised they had a point. He wasn’t even hungry. He’d just got in the habit of grabbing food whenever he could. The problem was, he was too good at it.
“Okay.” He nodded guiltily. “I promise I’ll share, but why don’t I train you to be spies, like me? Then you can reach food before the other neighbourhood squirrels get to it. You might even get there before me!”
The robin liked this idea and the other birds agreed. “Why not?” they chirped, eager to improve their food spy skills.
Dash started Squirrel Spy School that very day, helping undercover animals track down tasty treats. Pretty soon, the birds were expert food spies too.
“I wonder what happened to that squirrel,” Kit said one day, as the robin appeared out of nowhere to peck at his leftover crusts. “Hang on, is that robin wearing a mask?” But before Kit could check, the robin had vanished into thin air!