Squirrels

California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi);
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Carmichael, CA; APR 2019

I have mixed emotions about squirrels. I enjoy watching these industrious creatures foraging for food. I love watching them chase each other. I especially like their alarms when they rapidly shake their paw and cluck loudly. But, they do consume a lot of food meant for the birds at our backyard feeder. So, for the most part, I enjoy them.

As I have travelled, I have learned there are a large variety of squirrels. There are tree squirrels like the gray, red and fox varieties who live in nests in trees. There are ground squirrels who nest in burrows under the ground. Chipmunks and marmots are a type of ground squirrel. It has been many years, but I’ve even seen flying, or more appropriately, gliding squirrels.

One of the more interesting squirrels in this post is the black morph of the Eastern Fox Squirrel. I’ve done some research on these squirrels and learned that there is evidence that black squirrels were once the most common. But as we settled North America and cleared forests, evolutionary pressure selected the lighter colored squirrels. To me, they are uncommon, but I have spoken with some folks who are aware of places where they are more common.

Here are some of the squirrels I have seen in my travels over the past year.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Juvenile Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger);
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2019
Black Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger);
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2019

Cliff Chipmunk, (Neotamias dorsalis);
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019
Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus);
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; APR 2019
American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus);
Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park, WY; MAY 2019
Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus) – P2;
Glacier National Park; May 2019
Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus) – P3;
Glacier National Park; May 2019
Rock Squirrel (Otospermophilus variegatus);
Mather Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park; AUG 2019
Least Chipmunk (Neotamias minimus);
Schullman Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, CA; SEP 2018

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

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