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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checking Squirrel Boxes @ East Hill Campus


Red squirrel nest from box
(Naples, NY 10/11)
This spring, we erected nine flying squirrel boxes at FLCC's East Hill Campus. We used these plans. On Halloween Day, we went out and checked their status. Our intention was to check for evidence of occupancy, not to evict anyone. By now, the breeding season is long over and any young squirrels would not be tied to the nest boxes. Our first box was empty, but our second box had a nest in it. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure it was a red squirrel. The opening was chewed to enlarge it to allow the larger red squirrel access.
 As you can see, there is a hollowed out portion of the nest in the center. Red squirrels favor conifers rather than deciduous trees and this box was attached to a pine tree. The nest itself was made mostly of strips of bark (I am no expert but the bark sure looked like grape vine to me). I say mostly because there were a few odd pieces in the nest. A few leaves and needles and deer hair. But the most interesting find was a piece of rope that had been teased apart and frayed.....
Rope from red squirrel nest
(Naples, NY 10/11)




Thanks for being a good sport, Alyssa!

Bobbie Jo checks squirrel box
(Naples, NY 10/11)
Flying squirrel nest
(Naples, NY 10/11)




















We continued up the hill checking boxes and finding  many empty and others with chewed hickory nuts inside and still others with nesting material. Students took turns checking the boxes and all seemed to be having fun. We warned them that actually seeing a flying squirrel was not a certainty. When we got to box #7, Bobbie Jo volunteered to take a turn. Well, she opened the box and saw the nest material start to wiggle and tried to catch the occupant. But the flying squirrel escaped before she could grab it. We all got great looks as it sat in the crotch of a branch. I only had my small camera, but one of my students, Adam Rogers had a nice camera and took two nice pics I will post below. I climbed the ladder and took a quick pic of the nest myself. I got a short video of the squirrel exiting the box and posted it to YouTube here.


Thanks again to Adam Rogers for sharing his photos with me! Check out how flat that tail is.... :)
Flying squirrel
Photo by: Adam Rogers
(Naples, NY 10/11)

Flying squirrel
Photo by: Adam Rogers
(Naples, NY 10/31)

5 comments:

  1. "A blurry shot is better than a clear ass" -JVN haha something like that…...

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  2. That was a fun day. Have you checked the camera trap yet, that you set up outside the nest?

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  3. ALyssa is right... no photos at all on the camera! I hope that only means it wasn't aimed properrly and not that the squirrel abandonded the box.

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  4. I'm sure the camera was off a little, that was a tough setup. Probley would have made for some good pic though :(

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