Help Red Squirrels

There are many ways you can help Red Squirrels:
If you know there are squirrels around it helps a lot if you provide them with a good source of food. They will reciprocate by giving you hours of enjoyment watching them. They will often take food from bird tables.

Using a feeder placed in a suitable spot you can provide squirrels with tasty menus, comprising all sorts of nuts and seeds.

Red Squirrels preferred feed is hazelnuts, (high density protein and energy) and peanuts in shells. In the wild they eat pine nuts, seeds and fungi as well as berries and fruit.

Grey squirrels will eat almost anything and we use maize (corn) kernels as bait.

Report Sightings:
We rely heavily on people letting us know if they spot any squirrels in our area.

By letting us know if you spot any squirrels (Red or Grey) you will be guiding us to areas where Red Squirrels may need a helping hand or need to be protected.

Are there any Squirrels?:
One of the prime objectives of our local squirrel group is to record all reported sightings. There are a number of techniques used to check for the presence of both red and grey squirrels.

At certain times of the year, when natural food is in short supply, feeders provide a good method. Secured to a tree, these have a tendency to attract reds rather than the more terrestrial grey squirrels. We sometimes use trail cameras in conjunction with the feeders.

Hair pads are a much cheaper tool, but just as effective. These are sticky pads, which use double-sided tape, to catch hairs from animals brushing up against them. Pads are placed under the squirrel feeder lid and, after one or two weeks, the collected pads are looked at under a microscope. The hairs of the red and grey squirrel vary subtly and checking colour is not thorough enough to differentiate the species. Greys can have a surprisingly large amount of red or brown hair on their heads, backs and tails.

The shape of the grey and the presence of a halo of silver hairs around the edges of the tail are much better field indicators. The hair of the red is comparatively finer and often not as distinctively banded. Under a microscope the hairs of the grey are coarser, far shinier and clearly banded.

Hair tubes, 12 inch long sections of square plastic drainpipe, with a hair pad at each end are placed along fallen branches baited with hazelnuts or maize are a cheaper option, but just as effective.

Anyone wanting to learn more should contact the group.