Monday, September 12, 2011
Part One of a Three Part Series
I spent the past two mornings sitting in a new blind set up in my front yard. I’m was using my semi permanent blind which is a pretty cushy set up for wildlife photography. It has a rolling office chair, shooting shelfs and moveable viewing ports etc. Well enough of that. During those two sessions I managed to create a fairly large body of images of Western Gray Squirrels, Bandtail Pigeons and the ever present but beautiful Stellar Jays.
Due to the large volume of images it took me numerous hours today to edit them down to my favorites. When all was said and done I decided it would be best to do a profile of each one in turn starting with the Western Gray Squirrel. I have always been a sucker for small mammals. They have such personality and character.
Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus)
The good news is that they are a species of least concern meaning they currently aren’t going to disappear any time soon. Males are called bucks and females are called does just like deer. Baby squirrels are called kits, kittens or pups. Here is some information to know and forget or throw out at parties. A whole group of gray squirrels is called a dray or a scurry. I’m sure you will be popular after bringing up that fact.
In looks they are a fairly large squirrel as they are about twelve inches long with a luxurious, bushy, gray haired tail with white tips. The tail is longer than their body. . The ears are neat in that they are kind of a rusty red on the backsides. Their belly is cream colored to white while the upper body is covered in peppery white and gray fur hence the name Gray Squirrel. Go figure!
Food wise they have a varied diet that changes with the seasons. They like to feed in the mornings. They have a diet made up of truffles (they have good taste) seeds, fungi, acorns, pine nuts and the new growth on trees. They also really love the sunflower seeds in my squirrel feeder along with bulbs from my flower beds sometimes.
Western Grays are found all along the western coast of the United States From Washington to extreme Southern California. They are a tree squirrel meaning “duh” that they live in trees. They typically claim an area of ½ to 2 acres as their territory. They are found in forests from sea level to the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains.
Grays nest high up in the trees in a messy ball like nest made up of leaves and branches lined with fur. They also use this to wait out cold weather and storms as they don’t hibernate. They mate in early spring and give birth to three to five young between March and June. The month varies in their range depending upon elevation and latitude.
Now you know more than enough about Western Gray Squirrels.
God’s precious love and blessings to everyone,