Saturday, March 17, 2012


The size of the squirrel population at Blue Jay Barrens is constantly changing.  Squirrel numbers may plunge to the point of non-existence and within a couple of years be back to the point where we’re seemingly over run.  Eastern Gray Squirrels are by far the most numerous in any given year.  We have both a woodland population and a yard troupe.

The yard contains many natural food items, but the squirrels typically supplement their diet by visiting the bird feeders.  The basic route to the food begins at the fork in the dead tree …

… and ends in the feeder.  Some individuals have mastered the jump to the point that they land face first in the sunflower seed.

Except for the more assertive species, most birds wait nearby as the squirrels feed.

Eastern Fox Squirrels are rather plentiful this year.  They normally avoid the feeder and take their food from the ground.  This one looked as though it was preparing to jump, but it never made a try. 

Eventually, it worked its way so far down the tree trunk that a try at the feeder was no longer an option. 

I was surprised to find a Fox Squirrel in the middle of the woods with a mouth full of nesting material.  The blurry photo is a result of my habit of taking a quick shot the instant I spot a subject.  I’ll then take the time to focus properly and try for a good shot.  In this case, the squirrel dropped the nest material immediately after I took the photo.  I figure an out-of-focus shot is better than no shot at all.

The Fox Squirrel is normally found in more open country.  Of course, the habitat is so fragmented around here that open ground is not too far away.  I suppose the squirrel should know better than I what its habitat requirements are.


  1. I lived in Niles, Ohio until 1975. The big orange fox squirrels were the only kind of squirrel I ever saw there.

    Since I've moved to Georgia, I've only seen a fox squirrel once--in a pecan orchard, foraging with a bunch of gray squirrels. Gray squirrels are abundant here as well.

    You probably have flying squirrels too but never see them because they're nocturnal.

  2. Hi Mark. I've yet to find any evidence of Flying Squirrels here. I've seen them by the hundreds in South-eastern Ohio and am familiar with their nocturnal vocalizations. If they're in my woods, they're doing a great job of hiding.