The bushy tailed squirrel scampered across the roof. I heard his steps from my drawing table and looked up to see him leap from the roof to a large box elder tree near the north side of the house. From the kitchen window I watched him hop quickly along the limbs and again he went air born to the branch of a nearby apple tree. The gray squirrel then worked his way out to a few brownish, shriveled apples and began to nibble on them. For some reason a few apples hung on and refused to drop to the ground where the deer, rabbits and mice quickly find them. The squirrels also like the fruity sweetness of an apple in the dead of winter. A few well-placed apples near the bird feeders will be appreciated by the squirrels as well as the wild birds.
The gray squirrels are able to do just fine in the wild without any handouts but they never miss a chance for an easy meal. I enjoy watching them eating the ear corn, acorns and apples I put out for them. I guess it feels good to know there are wild animals and birds who trust me enough to come close to the house.
The eastern gray squirrel may be seen in several color phases. Their fur may be flecked with red/orange, the color of their larger cousins, the fox squirrels. They may appear light or dark gray or their coats could even be all black.
The gray squirrels can be found anywhere in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. Anywhere there are stands of large nut bearing trees, like oaks, walnut and hickory. They also like to eat the seeds and fruits of most trees.
Itís spring for these busy squirrels. This is when they begin to mate and plan for raising their families.
The young gray squirrels are born in a warm nest made in an old woodpecker hole in a large tree. Some 44 days after mating, 4-5 babies will be born and cared for forseveral months. In late June, when these new squirrels are able to care for themselves, the parents may mate again and raise another family.
Squirrels truly are one of natureís best conservationists and foresters. Their habit of burying acorns and nuts provide the woods with new young trees. These trees will grow and produce food for generations of squirrels to come. And around it goes year after year. natureís trail always runs in rhythmic, cyclic circles.
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