January 21st is a day to appreciate squirrels, especially if, like us, you are lucky enough to be in an area that still supports Britain’s native red squirrel.
I have been putting hazel nuts out in a feeder box for our local reds for a while now, and getting the occasional glimpse through the trees, but one of them has recently become a star performer. It has realised that there are peanuts to be had from our bird feeders, and has become a regular visitor.
It struggled to gain access initially (picture top right, above), but I’ve moved the feeder slightly, and started leaving the top open, and it now helps itself quite happily. Sometimes it grabs a nut, then runs off into the undergrowth, presumably to cache its prize for later, but every so often it sits and nibbles a couple. I have to ration the nuts, to make sure it doesn’t come to rely on this source, and still forages for other food.
It’s really lovely to see these creatures, especially as they are desperately struggling to keep a foothold in so many parts of the country.
Local and national red squirrel conservation groups will be joining in a Twitterstorm today, aimed at raising awareness of the need to conserve the species. Please feel free to add your own pictures if you have them, tagging them #RedSquirrelAppreciationDay