Looking up and down, sitting around we thought we would find a few. We were walking almost for an hour and a half for four days straight, yet we weren’t all that lucky. We saw a few at the least expected times and when we went searching, we found nothing.
What were we looking for exactly? Squirrels. Along with my group members, Emma and Hezekiah, we looked for squirrels on WCC’s campus. We were contributing to a citizen science project called Project Squirrel. The object of the project was to be able to search for squirrels and recognize their behaviors to notice how our local environment was changing. On the first day we decided to check out the “Bowl”. At first, we thought this would be a great place to chill out and squirrel hunt, but soon found out it wasn’t the squirrels “hot-spot” that day. It began to rain and we started walking inside when all of a sudden…SQUIRREL! We identified this squirrel as being an Eastern Fox squirrel because of its reddish-brown fur.
The next day we tried exploring in another area. We checked out the Pinewoods on WCC’s campus. We sat down, walked around, and paced back and forth searching for these squirrels. I must say, it’s a great place for spider hunting, but not so much squirrel hunting. Then with this I began to think, squirrels prefer old trees, so why weren’t there any squirrels in the pinewoods? My hypothesis for not being able to find any squirrels in the pinewoods was that we were in a group, we were very talkative, and we weren’t very patient. With this, it would be very hard for squirrels to come out with when we might’ve been scaring them.
Then on the third day we saw squirrels at the least expected time, lunch time. We saw this squirrel in the ‘Bowl” minding its own business and running around. This squirrel was also identified as an Eastern Fox squirrel. Later on that same day and in the same place we witnessed two more squirrels running around. We found squirrels when we weren’t trying to look, also it wasn’t the usual times we go out looking for squirrels. Because of the luck we had on the third day we decided to try again on the fourth day in the same place. It was very disappointing to not see any squirrels, but what we did notice was a half-eaten pine cone which gave us a sign that squirrels were somewhere near or had been there before.
After playing hide and seek with all these squirrels I decided to do a little more research. The main thing I wondered where did all these squirrels go? According to Behavior of North American Mammals Eastern Fox squirrels are most active from spring to autumn at least twice a day. Another important fact is that extreme heat will decrease the amount of squirrel activity. Throughout those four days the weather was fair, it wasn’t too hot and not too cold. They are most active in late afternoons which explains why we saw the squirrels in the “Bowl” later through the day. This information helps me understand why we didn’t find many squirrels when we were looking for them, but found a few when we least expected it.