And then there is the Grand Prize for providing next boxes – a Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans). We haven’t found them in nest boxes in recent years. When we moved here some 24 years ago, we set up Eastern Bluebird nest boxes around the open field. For the first year or two we routinely found flying squirrels in a nest box at the edge of the woods near the road. Often several flying squirrels over-wintered in a single nest box.
This nest box and it was half full of grass bedding with no sign that it had been used as a birds nest.
W poked the bedding gently and it moved. A squirrel face peered out from the bedding; this was the best photo I could get. This squirrel didn’t really want to move. The problem is that when they do decide to come out, they are planning to leave a very high speed up the tree. I did manage to get a shot – but just of the nose – before it exited stage upward.
We thought the squirrel might return but that it would leave when the weather warmed up. So we wanted to try and get more photos. In the meantime I did some research and learned that the squirrels breed in January-February and it was possible that the squirrel had been reluctant to leave the box because she had young. Indeed she had returned…
Here she is before she exited the next box.
And there were young squirrels in the nest; three of them. They were covered with fur and their eyes open – which means they are at least 3-4 weeks old. It won’t be too long before they are ready to leave the nest.
We thought the mother had scampered up to the top of the tree. When we went around the other side of the tree, we couldn’t see her and thought she had gone up to the top of the tree. However, there she was, about 9-10 feet above the ground.
It is encouraging to know that flying squirrels are still breeding in this area since we haven’t seen them for many years.
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- University of Georgia Natural History Museum: Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
- Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
- The Great 2010 Nest Box Clean Out (Part 1)
- The Great Nest Box Clean Out (Part 2)