Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 64

Squirrely Behavior
D
own the middle of the dirt road that goes past our house came a squirrel. It proceeded in a series of agile hops, its tail floating behind; its thick, furry, gray tail. I did a double-take, because we don’t see many gray squirrels in northeastern Vermont. we’re too far north for oaks, and gray squirrels are most common in places with a diversity of nut trees — particularly oaks — that provide a reliable supply of food year-round. we have plenty of red squirrels, which fare quite nicely on the seeds, buds and bark of spruce, fir, pine and hemlock. The gray squirrel continued down the road toward a more heavily wooded area. I should have followed to see where it went, but having grown up in Pennsylvania, where squirrels are so common that you kind of forget about them, I didn’t get up. In fact, we should not forget about squirrels, which are among the most adaptable of rodents. First off, there’s that bushy tail. It serves as a counterbalance when the squirrel is leaping from branch to branch in a tree. Supplied with an extensive network of blood vessels, it shuttles warm blood toward the squirrel’s body core in winter, and in summer it sheds excess heat to the air. Unlike many other rodents, which are nocturnal, squirrels are diurnal: active during the day. They have superb vision and a huge visual cortex in the brain to process the data that their eyes acquire. A squirrel’s peripheral vision is as sharp as its forward-looking vision — it can watch for predators on both sides as it moves about its territory looking for food or a mate. opportunistic feeders, gray squirrels will eat fruit, fungi, insects, discarded human food, even birds’ eggs and young birds. They consume hickory nuts, walnuts, butternuts, beechnuts and acorns. Somehow they can tell which nuts are about to germinate and use up their stored energy: on these, they nip off the growing tree embryos, then cache the treated nuts for later consumption. Research by Michael Steele, a scientist at wilkes University in northeastern Pennsylvania, shows that squirrels are cagey when it comes to hiding acorns. often they bury a nut, dig it up, rebury it, dig it up and bury it again. Up to five times. Steele believes that squirrels do this to fool other squirrels that may be watching. Sometimes they dig a hole, act as if they’re putting an acorn in it, and then fill in the hole — while keeping the acorn carefully squirreled away in their mouth. According to Steele, quoted in a July 2010 article in the new York Times, this “deceptive caching involves some pretty serious decision making” that “previously was thought to only occur in primates.” All of which tells me I should be anything but blasé the next time I see a gray squirrel in this neck of the woods.
game news

64



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011

Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011
Myths & Legends of the Whitetail
Contents
Squirrel Hunting Disease
Five Drives on Saturday
Two Merchants of Death
Family Tradition
High Tech Grouse Finds
The Future of Traditional Archery
Brunswick Barbeque
Whitetail History 101
Finally
Five Generations, One Gun
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Myths & Legends of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Squirrel Hunting Disease
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Five Drives on Saturday
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Two Merchants of Death
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Family Tradition
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - High Tech Grouse Finds
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - The Future of Traditional Archery
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Brunswick Barbeque
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Whitetail History 101
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Finally
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Five Generations, One Gun
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2011 - Cover4
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