Wednesday 28 May 2014

Squirrel nest box update for May 2014

We've had quite a lot of activity in our squirrel box this month, and a fair few 'awwww' moments...

Snuggled up with squirrel chums

I had hoped earlier in the season that extended periods of mating seen in April would have lead to lots of baby squirrels, but we're not there yet.  This box is located approx 80ft up a conifer tree at the bottom of my garden, which backs onto woods. There's no passing people traffic, so they get very little disturbance.

Squirrel box behind conifer tree 

The box was originally designed with owls in mind, but the squirrels chase everything else away - I don't mind much as its a slice of nature you don't normally get to see.  In 2013 we had a family of Great Tits nest raise a brood... I had to add a squirrel-baffle (= plank of wood with small hole over the entrance) to keep them out.

Great tit nest in the same box (2013)

Shelter from the rain:  I can usually predict if the squirrels are in residence by checking the weather. They usually move in when it rains, and this weekend was no exception.  Watching them go from soggy rats to fluffy squirrel is entertaining! The interesting thing is that they move in en-masse.  We had four sharing over most of this Saturday during a downpour.  I don't know such communal living is normal behaviour, but they spend their time playing, grooming and sleeping in a jumble.

How to tell squirrel from squirrel?
One squirrel looks very much like another - so its difficult to say if the same ones keep coming back.  We do have one with a notch out of its ear, but the others don't have any distinguishing features

Squirrel with ear notch

Boys or Girls? The camera is top down, and does not give the sort of angle that can readily tell boy from girl: See Great British Bake off Squirrel for what I mean - maybe something to add to my to do list?

Other (non-squirrel) species
This isnt an exhaustive list, but I thought it would be fun to list all the other bugs/birds that have found their way in.  We get quite a lot of wasps - its not beyond the realm of possibility that it would make a good wasp nesting site - I don't fancy having to do any camera mintenance if that were to be the case.
Other creatures seen include flies, bumblebees, spiders, woodlice and other birds (eg Coal tit & some miscellaneous feet in one of the pics below.. so I'm not sure what it is).  I also snuck squirrel feet in the mix too!

Non-squirrel species (+squirrel for good measure)

Camera: Information on camera setup can be found in this post

The next thing we're waiting for is baby squirrels.  I'm not sure how 4 squirrels will manage a litter though?

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