Thursday, November 15, 2012

Red Squirrel Readies for Winter

On Wednesday November 14, the Green Hour Group went on a hike to look for naturally occurring brushpiles.  Last week we made a small brushpile of our own in Schoolhouse Park.  Brushpiles are helpful to wildlife during winter as they provide shelter during cold days and nights as well as, a place to hide from predators.  So we were hiking, running, skipping and hopping along the Zim Smith trail while looking for brushpiles and any signs of wildlife.  At a small stand of pines we stopped to look at holes in a tree made by woodpeckers.  We also saw a large brushpile.  Jessica, one of the moms, pointed out a big pile of pinecones.  The pile was in the woods next to the brushpile.  We didn't think it was made by a person.  As we all took a good look, we also saw a pile of pinecone scales, called a midden.  Earlier that afternoon I had been scolded by a red squirrel in that exact spot while walking my dog.  Was the squirrel responsible for the pinecone cache and the midden of discarded pinecone scales?  Yes it was!  After our hike I looked up the habits of red squirrels and read that this is what they do.  There's been caches of up to 200 pinecones.  Wow are they hungry!  Today I was able to catch a picture of the squirrel as it scurried up the tree, all the while scolding me for interrupting his hoarding.  Thank you Jessica for that great sighting!!

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