Friday, June 17, 2011
Another garden visitor has made his BirdCam debut. The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is a Pacific Northwest original. Their range is coastal British Columbia, western Washington and Oregon and northern California. They are small squirrels, midway in size between Chipmunks and Gray Squirrels. Interestingly, their genus name combines Tamias (chipmunks) and Sciurus (squirrels), together meaning "hoarder squirrel" in Greek.
A beautiful sable brown coat is set off by an orange underside. In summer, they acquire a black band on their sides which can be seen in both photos here. They live in coniferous forests and are rather noisy little guys. You will often hear them from the trees but not see them. A persistent, high pitched barking, "chew-chew-chew-chew" is used to defend territories and warn of predators. If they are around when I am in the yard, I get a stern talking to.
As a comparison, this is our little Townsend's Chipmunk (Tamias townsendii). These are actually one of the largest of Chipmunks. Douglas Squirrels do not have cheek pouches for gathering food that you see in this Chipmunk.
Then, of course, there is HIM, the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), here flicking his tail in anger because he is not getting his way. These are the three Sciuridae found on Fidalgo Island. Two are welcome visitors. One is not. Well, sometimes he's not.