The Douglas squirrel is a pint-sized, chestnut-red native resident of forests west of the Cascade rim. They waste no time in telling you - and other squirrels - you're in their territory, particularly if you're near their central larder of conifer cones. They're named for Scottish explorer and botanist, David Douglas, who surely heard them in 1825 when he traveled up the Columbia River with trappers for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Don't be fooled! The Douglas squirrel sounds a bit like a bird sending out an alarm.
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The Douglas Squirrel
Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Call of a Douglas squirrel]
Doesn’t that sound like a bird? Actually, we’re hearing a Douglas squirrel, a pint-sized, chestnut-red native of forests from the Sierra Nevadas of California northward to coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.
They waste no time in telling you—and other squirrels—you’re in their territory, particularly if you’re near their central larder of conifer cones. Here’s a pair discussing our presence right now.
[Duet of Douglas squirrels, sending alarm]
The Scottish explorer and botanist, David Douglas, surely heard them in 1825 when he traveled up the Columbia River with trappers for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He came to gather specimens of Pacific Northwest plants, including seeds of the large evergreen tree that today also bears his name.
[Trill of Douglas squirrel]
If you’re lucky, in summer, you’ll hear young squirrels racing up and down the tree trunks. Listen! You can hear their claws as they scamper on their vertical playground.
[Young Douglas squirrels racing up and down the trees]
In fall, you might hear the sound of cones rocketing out of those trees, as Douglas squirrels gather them for winter.
And what about those large, mostly silent squirrels that we see just about everywhere? Those are eastern gray squirrels, interlopers when in the land of the Douglas.
[Alarm call of Douglas squirrel]
Want to squirrel away some gifts for your friends and family? Check out the beautiful BirdNote calendar! Find it at BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann.
Sounds of the Douglas squirrel recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org November 2012 Narrator: Mary McCann