Red Squirrels have frequented my yard for as long as I can remember. And why not? They have lots of coniferous trees laden with seeds to feast on. Any cats we’ve ever had, have always been indoors. The squirrels have nested in birdhouses I’ve provided (for the birds) and managed to get a good share of the seed left for the birds as well.
Though Red Squirrels might be taken for granted by me and other Nova Scotians, this month, the Forestry Commission in Scotland decided to take aggressive action in ensuring the survival of its beloved Red Squirrel population. Apparently it is being threatened by the larger Grey Squirrels, introduced from the U.S. Besides an attempt at culling the Grey Squirrel population (ravenous eaters and carriers of a pox that is deadly to Red Squirrels but not the Grey), the Forestry Commission will be planting more conifer trees in some forests. Grey Squirrels, for some unknown reason, have an exclusive preference for deciduous forests. Besides nuts, from oaks especially, I wonder if their choice of territory has anything to do with the types of predators found in these two forests.
Although I haven’t noticed any Grey Squirrels in Cow Bay, that’s not to say they won’t make their way here eventually. They’ve already expanded their territory to parts of Canada where they were unknown to exist only a short time ago. But as I look out my back yard, and see all the new growth of Balsam Firs since Hurricane Juan, it seems to me that, at least in my neck of the woods, the Red Squirrels are here to stay.