Date: 4/2/21 1:22 pm
From: Laurent Fournier <poecile.cinctus...>
Subject: Re: [birders] The search is on! (very long)
I concur with George. I am a nocturnal runner, and I have seen Flying
squirrels at Leslie Science Center (actually called Black pond woods), and
at Mary Beth Doyle Park. Admittedly, I probably run about 1000 miles a year
at night in Ann Arbor parks, and that's not a lot of sightings for the many
hours I spend in the woods at night. I have seen many more owls than flying
squirrels for sure.


Laurent

On Fri, Apr 2, 2021 at 3:44 PM 'George Hammond' via Birders <
<birders...> wrote:

> Hi birders,
>
> A UM mammalogist has told me that flying squirrels are much more common in
> urban and suburban areas than is generally known. They are sufficiently
> nocturnal that people just don’t see them. The iNaturalist site doesn’t
> have many records of them, but one was found on the grounds of the Leslie
> Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor, next to Black Pond Woods, and
> another one was found in the Rosedale Park historic district in Detroit,
> near Grand River Ave and the Southfield Highway, quite a developed area.
>
> So more of you may have flying squirrels visiting your feeders in dark of
> night than you know.
>
> George
>
> On Apr 2, 2021, at 12:26 PM, Allen Chartier <amazilia3...> wrote:
>
> There are large urbanized areas in southeastern Michigan, and other parts
> of the state, and agricultural areas where there is no appropriate habitat
> for flying squirrels.
>
> On Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 11:56 AM Dody <dody...> wrote:
>
>> Hi Fred,
>>
>> I’m not sure where you live, but we’re between Manchester and Clinton and
>> have plenty of flying squirrels. We put a very small handful of peanuts on
>> our deck railing out for them just after dusk and have had three at a
>> time. They have very differing personalities - one will just sit and eat
>> even if we turn on the light. The other two are not quite so sure.
>>
>> Dody
>>
>> On Apr 2, 2021, at 10:41 AM, Fred Kaluza <fkaluza...> wrote:
>>
>> Thanks for searching Kent. Yes, I guess wrapping the tree a few feet
>> below the trunk with some aluminum flashing AND finagling a baffle or skirt
>> above the box should work so long as it forces the usurpers far-enough
>> outward that they could not drop down onto any part of the box. I know
>> that any weakness in the design will be exploited. Any upturned or folded
>> edge or crease, any vertical crack or any nearby twig can be caught by a
>> claw or used as a place to gain momentum and swing onto a box and will
>> be leveraged by squirrels. I also want to be cautious about damaging the
>> trunk by retaining perpetual shade and moisture against it. It’s not an
>> easy task. Probably no way to stop flying squirrels but (sadly) I don’t
>> think they live around here.
>>
>> From Fred’s IPhone
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* Kent Martin <kjmluthier...>
>> *Sent:* Friday, April 2, 2021 3:53:09 AM
>> *To:* <birders...> <birders...>
>> *Subject:* Re: [birders] The search is on! (very long)
>>
>>
>> I recently retired a box - built from plans found online back in 2012 -
>> which featured a pyramid-shaped cap overhanging the box by about 3" on both
>> the sides and front, with both box and cap covered by sheet metal. It hung
>> on a large oak tree, with the trunk being the only means of approach by 4
>> legged critters. Our neighborhood is infested with squirrels, but they
>> never got into the box. The only issue I had was when Pine squirrels tried
>> to chew through the bottom of the box, which was not covered with sheet
>> metal. I also had to discourage starlings from nesting in it several times.
>>
>> The searching wood ducks that prompted this project never returned, but
>> screech owls successfully raised 2 broods in the box, and roosted there in
>> several other years. Last summer a storm damaged the tree, and it was taken
>> down. The box was showing some wear at that point, so I built another,
>> using the same design, but scaled down a bit. It is again occupied by a
>> screech owl.
>>
>> I can't locate the plans or pictures of the box at the moment, but am
>> still searching.
>>
>>
>> On 4/1/2021 7:26 AM, Fred Kaluza wrote:
>>
>> When mounting boxes to trees, how do you guys keep squirrels out? Even
>> if I baffle the trunk of a supporting tree, branch overlap in the canopy is
>> enough to invite intruders from above. I’ve got scads of squirrels around
>> here.
>>
>> >From Fred’s IPhone
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* Susan Horvath <shorvath...> <shorvath...>
>> *Sent:* Wednesday, March 31, 2021 11:16:58 PM
>> *To:* John Farmer <ajf-jlf...> <ajf-jlf...>;
>> Birders UM <birders...> <birders...>
>> *Cc:* Susan Horvath <shorvath...> <shorvath...>
>> *Subject:* Re: [birders] The search is on! (very long)
>>
>> We have 4 screech/woodduck boxes 15' or so up trees... 25 years or so.
>> Last year was first time all boxes were in use by wood ducks. Also the
>> first time we managed to see a fledge. Our first sighting this year,
>> March 25: 2 pair flew in together... with a 3rd pair right behind!
>> There's got to be some site fidelity going on... and maybe they're an
>> extended family. We've known for years that egg-dumping happens.
>> Clutch sizes are just too large. We added Blink cameras a couple
>> years ago.... and managed to catch 2 females incubating side by side
>> in one of the boxes!
>>
>> On Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 10:53 AM John Farmer <ajf-jlf...>
>> <ajf-jlf...> wrote:
>> >
>> > Here along the Saline River near Milan, MI, the trees are alive this
>> morning with multiple Wood Duck pairs in search of nesting spots. What is
>> interesting today is that whereas the housing search usually starts as a
>> trickle and then slowly grows to a flood over the course of a week or two,
>> this year's search has begun en masse, as if a ribbon has been cut or a
>> starting gun fired. Anne and I have counted at least four different pair
>> spread out among the trees over the 100-yard length of the river's loop
>> behind the house.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > As I write, a hen has just left her partner perched precariously
>> against the off-plumb trunk of a hackberry not thirty feet from my study
>> window. During the three minutes it took to write that last sentence -
>> with many visual digressions to follow the changing scene - she moved to at
>> least a half dozen different branches in different trees while he has moved
>> once, each small flight by both not more than 20 feet at a time, sometimes
>> higher, sometimes lower in the trees, at least once back to the starting
>> tree, but all within sight of a half dozen natural tree cavities and three
>> of the four tree-mounted nest boxes I maintain on the river bank
>> immediately behind our house.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > And now, that pair had dropped to the river's surface to catch a breath
>> after their uneasy stands on perches hardly designed for ducks' feet, and
>> another pair has taken their place as the frenzied game goes on.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Just minutes later, that pair, too, returned to the river and began a
>> slow paddle upstream together. It appears that the nesting urge has abated
>> for today, as attested by the apparent total withdrawal of woodies from the
>> area now. And by the low flight of a pair of Mallards back upstream after
>> their first of several stops to check for the single cob of corn and
>> handful of loose kernels that I leave on the bank daily for all comers.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Those comers at this time of year include - in addition to the Mallards
>> - a pair of Canadas, a pair of Hoodies , sometimes with a second male
>> tagging along to create a triangle (but with none at all interested in the
>> corn, of course), and up to five Woodie hens and usually a few wannabe, but
>> still unmated drakes.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > A quick check of my daily records shows that our anatine (my new word
>> for the day!) visitors for the year have been as follows:
>> >
>> > January - Mallards (19 days) and Wood Ducks (3 days)
>> > February - (the river was frozen over for the entire month until the
>> break-up on the 28th) we still had Mallard drop-ins on four Feb days!
>> > March - Mallards (22 days beginning on 3/1), Woodies (17 days,
>> beginning 3/6), Hoodies (10 days, beginning 3/1), Canada Geese (5 days,
>> starting 3/9), and [Great Blue Heron also non-consumers of the corn and
>> non-anatine birds! (3 days starting 3/20]
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > As we consider what may account for this morning's unusually robust
>> search by the Woodies for nesting cavities, we're wondering if another
>> sector of the wild community that has entertained us all winter at and
>> around our feeders may have prompted the full-on assault.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > The diurnal diners at our feeding station just beyond the back of the
>> house include not only the expected array of birds, but also a full range
>> of sciurid cousins. Just yesterday we had Fox, Red, Gray and Black (both
>> color phases of the Gray) Squirrels and Eastern Chipmunk. The two larger
>> squirrel species - Fox and Gray - often raise their first broods of the
>> season in the duck boxes, and we can't help but consider that those
>> non-avian competitors may be affecting the Wood Ducks' united front. We
>> have noted that at least two of our four duck boxes have been seeing
>> squirrel activity lately.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Might today's unusual mass search for nesting space be the wildlife
>> equivalent of a fair-housing demonstration? Or, at least an indicator that
>> there is an acute need for more birthing centers!
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > I'm heading out to fill the feeders and should also check the duck
>> boxes. But that's another story…
>>
>>
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