Five Adult Flying Squirrels
Last Monday we heard there were some lynx sightings near Forest Road 11. Steve Van Kekerix and I took the afternoon off and drove some of the back roads hoping for a glimpse of these elusive cats. We didn’t even come across any tracks. On the way home we stopped by an old growth aspen that had three nesting cavities made by Pileated Woodpeckers.
Pileated Woodpeckers make a new nesting cavity each spring. They never use it again for nesting but lots of other critters do. Many species depend on the woodpecker’s cavities for a place to escape the winter’s cold. A fellow photographer had once told me that he used to film owls, flying squirrels and ducks as they looked out from these cavities. I ask him how he got them to look out. He said to take a stick in each hand and scratch on both sides of the tree moving higher each time you scratch. Whatever is in the cavity thinks that a predator is climbing the tree and will look out.
Steve and I decided to try it. Neither of us thought it would work but I told Steve to get ready with his camera while I scratched. I didn’t get four feet up the tree before I heard his camera clicking continuously. I looked up and saw flying squirrels scrambling out of all three cavities. There must have been a dozen in all. I got my spotting scope and set up the camera while Steve tried the scratching. Not all of them looked out the second time but at one point we saw six little heads sticking out of one hole. Since flying squirrels are nocturnal or only come out at night it was a rare sighting to see this many at one time. Flying squirrels are the cutest things. In the attached photo each one seems to show its own personality as they look down at Steve. If you look closely you can see the tree line reflected in their very large eyes.
At this point we didn’t mind that we didn’t see any lynx.