Date: 4/2/21 2:33 pm From: Allen Chartier <amazilia3...> Subject: Re: [birders] The search is on! (very long)
Yes, it makes sense that those nicely wooded areas in Ann Arbor would have
Flying Squirrels. It is surprising to hear of one around M-39 and Grand
River Avenue, but I suspect that this is a very rare occurrence in a place
like that...which is like hundreds of square miles of
urban/suburban/residential area in the Tri-County area.
On Fri, Apr 2, 2021 at 4:22 PM Laurent Fournier <poecile.cinctus...>
> 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.
> 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.
>> 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.
>>> 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
>>> >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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