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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)*

Squirrel was very upset with me for spoiling his plans for an afternoon snack. I saw him on top of a log when I came back from a walk. He took one look at me, jumped down in a flying leap and then hightailed it to safety in a nearby tree. He had been on his way to the sunflower seeds that were scattered on the ground under the bird feeders. Usually when danger is present, and he's eating seeds, his escape route is through a tunnel that he's cleverly made in the snow at the bottom of an adjacent log pile.

Crouching on a limb halfway up the tree, and peering out from behind an evergreen twig, he scolded and scolded, bushy red-brown tail flicking all the while. He didn't let up on his tirade the entire time I stood there. On and on he went, this fearless little forest dweller. I was the intruder this time.

*Note: tamias is from the Greek and means one who stores or hoards; sciurus is derived from two Greek words and can be translated as 'shade-tail'. hudsonicus is the Latin word for Hudson Bay where European naturalists first reported seeing the Red Squirrel in 1771.