We live at the edge of a pine forest which is the perfect habitat for the western gray squirrel. They are a constant feature of the landscape that we observe every day from our window. As we spend time in our yard, we see the fluffy tailed, agile gray squirrel making himself at home as he gathers pinecones or as he eats seeds that fall from our birdfeeders.
The timing of last week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge spotlighting squirrels was perfect for us. We have four or five (hard to tell them apart) gray squirrels that come to our yard every day. Here’s a link to last week’s squirrel nature study entry if you missed it: Squirrel Nature Study-make a link.
There was a time they attempted to climb the feeder poles to get to the seed but we’ve extended the slick metal poles up higher and they eventually gave up trying. Instead, they prefer to expend their energy in eating the seeds that the birds drop from the feeder or the deer spill out onto the ground.
We’ve observed them taking specific routes through the yard. One travels high in the tree tops and jumps from branch to branch to eventually make it to the feeder where he runs headfirst down the tree trunk. Another runs along the wood fence that borders our yard, then he races across the lawn, up onto the tree stump, back down and around the fallen log, and then he arrives at his destination under the feeder.
Here in Central Oregon we have both tree squirrels and ground squirrels. The Belding’s ground squirrel has already gone into hibernation until next spring! The ground squirrels are only active for a few months each year as they breed and gather food. Fascinating!
We had to look up our squirrels in our mammal field guide and you may need to also. Use the information to decide which tree and ground squirrels you have in your area so you know what to look for when you are out for your Outdoor Hour Challenge time. We had a hard time deciding what the differences are between a squirrel and a chipmunk until we did our research. You can see one of the posts about this topic linked at the bottom of this post.
Additional Posts You May Wish to Read:
Chipmunks or Squirrels? – In this post we share how we can tell the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel.
Squirrel Study and Our Walnuts – It’s a sad story.
Signs of a Squirrel – The tale of a mess left behind by a squirrel.
Read my review of this book here: Tracks, Scats, and Signs
Read my review of this book here: North American Wildlife