The Recorder – Speaking of Nature: Getting ready for winter


It was Veterans Day and I used to be residence from faculty. My common writing routine had been interrupted by this time without work and I used to be having problem arising with a subject. So, as I typically do in these kinds of conditions, I set in regards to the job of going by my mail, cleansing up my workplace desk and dealing on every other little unimportant job in an effort to let my quiet mind provide you with one thing artistic and save me.

The home was silent and from my open workplace loft I might hear all kinds of quiet sounds. Blue jays have been visiting the sunflower feeder on the deck railing and making little clunking noises as they carried out a range of acrobatic methods in an effort to get some lunch. A pair of crows was perched within the cottonwood tree on the west facet of my home and having a loud dialogue about one thing or different. And then I heard a sound that I couldn’t account for. What was that?

It was a mixture of bumps and scrapings that sounded nearly like somebody was engaged on the siding on my home. The sounds endured and I lastly bought up. I walked to the steps that result in the basement and determined that the noises have been coming from inside the home reasonably than outdoors. Not good!

I went round to the lobby space between the home and the storage and located that the noise was even louder and coming from the closet ceiling. Then I went out into the storage and I actually heard it. Whatever was making the noise was within the open crawl house within the part of the roof that connects the storage to the primary home.

I grabbed my pistol-grip highlight and a utility ladder and climbed as much as see what was occurring. There was an animal of their and it sounded prefer it was making an attempt to scrape by some scraps of insulation paneling that the builders left up there. I might see the panels shifting, however I couldn’t see the animal accountable.

So I went down the ladder and grabbed a pole. In doing so I will need to have lastly generated sufficient noise to alert the intruder after which I heard the telltale patter of footprints galloping throughout the storage roof. Squirrels!

A fast examine of my matters database confirmed me that it has been 10 years since I wrote about squirrels, so serendipity offered me with a topic to jot down about. As animals go the jap grey squirrel (Sciuruscarolinensis) is an energetic, participating and engaging mammal that provides people nice alternative to watch and revel in throughout the daytime hours. They are so fascinating that some of these animals have been launched to European international locations and they’re now thought of a significant invasive species all through the European Union.

Gray squirrels are small, agile and though I wouldn’t describe them as being “intelligent,” I might say that they’re tenacious downside solvers. Hence, the issue with squirrels. They aren’t significantly afraid of people, which may lend them an endearing high quality, however that may be a double-edged sword as a result of they’re fairly prepared to raid chook feeders and try unauthorized entry into our properties. Squirrels which can be outdoors can vary between great visitor and delicate nuisance, however squirrels inside homes are a significant downside. My fellow householders on the market might know precisely what I’m speaking about.

The normal winter quarters for a grey squirrel will probably be both a tree cavity someplace, or a leaf nest constructed by the squirrels. These leaf nests are known as ”dreys” and they’re as advanced as beaver lodges. First, the squirrel selects a forked department in a tree. Then a set of small twigs is used to weave a “basket,” inside which lining of leaves is positioned. Finally, the innermost layer of the drey is made out of softer supplies. The entrance to the nest will face the bottom to maintain rain from getting inside and when the squirrel enters the nest there isn’t any additional room in any respect.

The downside arises when squirrels work out that the attics and storage lofts of human dwellings are higher than dreys. Totally waterproof and conveniently situated close to properly-stocked chook feeders, the human constructions are far superior to something made of sticks and leaves. These spots are so engaging that squirrels will truly chew holes in homes in an effort to get inside. That’s an issue!

So, I clearly have some work to do as I put together for winter. Somewhere in my storage there’s a gap that I don’t find out about and I’ve bought to plug it up earlier than the squirrels so greater than a bit of easy prospecting. I’ve truly seen a drey down within the woods behind my home, so I do know there are squirrels within the space. I simply must persuade them that my residence is just not going to be an choice for them. Wish me luck!

Bill Danielson has been an expert author and nature photographer for 24 years. He has labored for the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts State Parks and he presently teaches highschool biology and physics. For extra in formation go to his web site at, or head over to Speaking of Nature on Facebook.