147Days #219 Douglas Squirrel
This is a Douglas Squirrel. It is a very tiny mammal but when startled sets up a ruckus with a very loud bark. It also has a loud chatter if it is annoyed. It often scolds anything it spies robbing the bird feeder. This include the larger variety squirrel that lives here or the Stellars Jays and the ravens. It might be small but it is mighty feisty. Even the birds don’t bother it, preferring to scold from the safety of the branches until it is finally full and leaves the feeder. Mostly it leaves only because we go out and shoo him away.
This day was early this past spring and the little guy was alternating between curiosity and alarm. In the past six months he has grown so used to us, that he often darts across the deck to take a short cut to the tree with the bird feeder.
We had always thought this was a baby, but we began to see that it never grew bigger and that its habits were not the same as the larger squirrels. After some research we learned that this is a Douglas Squirrel. It eats spruce cones and prefers to nest in buildings where the larger squirrel builds huge nests of dried leaves high in the trees.
Our yard contains at least ten very large spruce trees. This morning when we left for work the front yard was littered with the green cones shedding from the trees. This evening when we got home, there was not a spruce cone in the yard. This very busy squirrel had completely cleaned up every cone.
This brings us to the mystery of the cedar garden shed. The shed holds our gardening tools, rakes, shovels and lawn mower. It is also the winter storage for the patio furniture and the storage for our outdoor Christmas lights. Every year when late November rolls around Sweet Hubs brings out the boxes of Christmas lights. Every year every single storage box is stuffed full to overflowing with spruce cones. It is amazing how many can be packed into the boxes between the wires and lights of each string of lights.
We finally solved the “who done it” and now know who shares the garden shed with us and packs it full of spruce cones. Aside from the cones it is a sweet little neighbor and keeps a tidy nest and is not too destructive except for a couple of holes in the floor of the shed. One year recently when the shed need a new roof and a little maintenance, we discovered a tidy nest built of cedar bark strips, dried leaves, and woven throughout was some of my Christmas ribbon.
So we leave them undisturbed in the shed, it is much preferable to them moving back into the attic.
The photo below is one of this years young. I caught it early in the morning last week cleaning up the seeds below the bird feeder.
Mother Nature provides us with ample year round entertainment.