Monday, 3 December 2012

Living With Wildlife


The Spark:
It's easy to get distracted by these zany critters.  Squirrels are an integral part of any neighbourhood and can be seen going about their daily lives in the most lively of manners.  In fact, neighbourhoods are just as much where we make our homes as where they make their homes.  They see their surroundings, be it a forest, town, or city, as one big squirrel habitat and the possibilities are endless.

Squirrels are intelligent, athletic, and very clever at finding food.  Their diet consists of nuts and seeds, such as acorns, walnuts, sunflower seeds, corn, wild fruit, apples, berries, and pine seeds.  Squirrels are active during the day and sleep at night and they do not hibernate over the winter months, so now is a great time to observe them.  You can endanger the lives of squirrels if you feed them around or near your home as they will find a way to nest close by, usually, it will be in your home.  They can get trapped or they could bite into wires, which could be dangerous for you and the squirrel.

During the autumn, squirrels are voracious gatherers of food.  If you're on an autumn hike in the snow, a squirrel's foot prints look like two exclamation marks side by side (!!).  Listen for them by hearing a series of rapid clicking sounds-kuk, kuk, kuk-  which sounds as a warning to other squirrels of nearby danger.  A more commonly heard vocalization is a rasping whisk accentuated by a flick of the tail.  The tail has many functions.  It acts as a rudder as it jumps from one place to another, a sunshade in the summer, a warm cover in the winter, and a distraction to predators on a chase.  Squirrels play an important role in nature by spreading seeds.  Contrary to popular belief, squirrels do not find their buried nuts by memory but by a tracking method called triangulation and by their highly developed sense of smell.  Not all hidden nuts will be found and they will grow into new trees.

Are you interested in finding out more about the wildlife in your neighbourhood?  Then your quest starts here with squirrels.  Your quest begins with the question WHY?

Start Your Quest:
Why:  To appreciate and discover new things about the wildlife in and around your neighbourhood.
What:  To live side by side with squirrels and to observe them in their "natural" habitat, a.k.a. the neighbourhood (urban areas as well as forested or natural areas.)
Where:  In your neighbourhood.
When:  As soon as you can get yourself organized.
Who:  You, your friends, and family.
How:  Find out below.

Take Action:

How do squirrels detect the most nutritious food source?

Squirrel obstacle:  mission impossible

How do squirrels find their food?

Squirrel Craft

Enjoy a Scaredy Squirrel Story!

Don't Stop Here:
Keep on researching and finding out more about how we live side by side with wildlife in neighbourhoods.  Don't forget, if you have a hunch about something, join our S.N.CH. Philosopher's Club.  Just drop us an email and we'll do our best to give your hunch a whirl and get back to you.

Quest Check:
Keep checking back with us on a regular basis to see if your interests match our quests.

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