Flying Squirrel


Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

Identification:

The northern flying squirrel is the most secretive of our squirrels – since its nocturnal, most people never get to see one. It is worth making the effort to get to know these charming mammals. The best way to get a look at them is by having bird feeders. If you have a sunflower seed feeder that is near your window, perhaps at night you can hear the feeder knocking against the pane when it isn’t windy outside. Without turning on the lights in the house, walk over to the window, and chances are there will be a flying squirrel. When it glides over to the feeder, it bangs against the glass. You can shine a light out and get a great look at one of our lesser-known treasures. Flying squirrels are about the same size as red squirrels, with large, reflective black eyes for better night vision. The colouring is duller than a red squirrel and you will be able to see the extra flap of skin on each side. Although they don’t fly, these squirrels use these elastic membranes to glide from a higher level to a lower one.

 

Habitat:

Flying squirrels live among coniferous trees, making their homes from 1 to 10 m (3.3-33′) above the ground. They are opportunistic, often taking over abandoned woodpecker cavities as well as old red squirrel or blue jay nests. The interior nests are preferred for winter living and bearing young, while the exterior nests are favoured in the summer. Like the red squirrel, flying squirrels do not hibernate and are active all year long.

Feeding:

During summer, food is abundant and their varied diet includes such things as insects, carrion and the occasional bird egg. In the fall, however, they concentrate on storing winter supplies of coniferous seeds and mushrooms. In spring, they feast on the buds of aspen, alder and pussy willow.

Conservation:

Large coniferous trees, even those old ones in a hedgerow, are great places for flying squirrels, providing both food and places to overwinter. Making sure that there are spring plants for buds will help ease the transition from winter to summer. As they do with with much of our smaller wildlife, cats extract a large toll on the flying squirrel population. It is not uncommon to see a tail near your house if you have cats that go outside.

Upcoming Events

Jul
6
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Jul 6 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 10 @ 3:00 pm
Young Ecologists: Session One This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and
Jul
13
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Jul 13 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 17 @ 3:00 pm
Nature Discovery: Session One This camp will introduce the children to the woods, stream and native tree nursery that surround our Nature Center. The campers will delight in learning to use all their senses to
Jul
20
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Jul 20 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 24 @ 3:00 pm
Becoming a Naturalist Session One This camp focuses on encountering and describing the natural world. Through the use of art and other hands-on outdoor activities, they’ll expand their understanding of life in the woodlands, waterways,
Jul
25
Sat
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief slideshow, we’ll head off to
Jul
27
Mon
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Jul 27 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 31 @ 3:00 pm
Bushcraft Ecology Ages 12-14 These campers will delight in learning survival skills such as one-match fire making, shelter building, rope making with natural fibres, and tracking animals. Touching on plant and tree identification, campers will

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