It’s just after sunset and it’s raining. From the woods behind the farmyard a tiny squirrel appears on a tree limb. She scurries across a wet tree limb. Knowing how vulnerable she is out there on a limb, she immediately leaps into the air and sails 100 feet through the air to a large soft maple tree near the barn. From here she soars down to a nearby box elder tree. She quickly scampers out to the end of a long branch and leaps three feet to the corn crib and disappears in the yellow cobs.
I was in the right place at the right time and noticed the squirrel sail out of the woods, silhouetted against the twilight sky.
These beautiful pixie-like, squirrels truly are one of nature’s most inconspicuous animals. They are unique in many ways. Being nocturnal means they are rarely seen during daylight hours. When the sun goes down they appear from their snug holes in the trees, to look for food.
Their extra big round eyes are very adapted to the darkness and let them see where they fly off to. The very loose skin along their flanks provides a front foot to back foot webbing. When the little squirrel jumps, she spreads her feet and the loose skin provides her a sail to travel on. There’s no doubt they are skilled and accurate flyers.
The flying squirrels here in the Kickapoo valley live in small family groups. Wherever there is habitat that suits them and often that habitat is hard to find.
When a farm, with mature timber is sold, often the trees are logged and the flying squirrels’ territory is sold. These squirrels are by no means an endangered species but still they are rarely seen. Sometimes late at night I may have to get up. When I do, I always take the flashlight and check out what’s at the bird feeders. I often see nighttime feeders like coons, possums, skunks, deer and deer mice. My favorite sight though, are the tiny pixies.
All art ©2013 Organic Valley