Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter Squirrels

THE squirrels in our garden are working their way through their winter stores. We keep finding little shallow hollows in the soil around the base of trees, which I can only assume are hidey holes for nuts, that have been dug up. The squirrels' diet is augmented by the dried corn cobs we put on the feeder. They seem to remove more corn from the cob than they eat, as there are always little pieces sitting on the feeder. We've noticed that birds often drop by after the squirrels have tired of their meal, to take advantage of the dropped pieces.

The squirrels are noisy, too! They make a kind of chirping/clicking sound which, based on the ensuing game of tag looks like it means: "Here I am, come and get me!" More knowledgeable sources point to a territorial signal though, and apparently it can also be a mating or warning call. I admit my untrained ear has yet to notice great variation. Did you know - squirrels also communicate through tail movements? These are Eastern Grey Squirrels, native to this part of the world. They live up to twelve years in the wild.

We used to have red squirrels in our garden at home in the south of England when I was growing up; now there are only grey squirrels. There are still red squirrels in some parts of the UK - mostly Scotland, Wales and Northeast England.


Jessica said...

We have a verse we love to sing when we go out to feed the squirrels to call them to dinner.

*Grey squirrel, grey squirrel swish your bushy tail.
*Grey squirrel, grey squirrel swish your bushy tail.
*Wrinkle up your little nose
*Hold a nut between your toes
*Grey squirrel, grey squirrel swish your bushy tail.

I love reading the facts you put in your blog!

Lavender's Blue said...

I love that verse!