Meet: Red Squirrel
Red squirrels are truly a northern critter, replying heavily on pine cone seeds and acorns as primary food sources. They are rarely found in urban areas but may be found in suburban areas with a lot of tree cover. If you come across a red squirrel, you'll know it. They greet any stranger in the forest with a loud chattering.
Determining if the squirrel you see if a red squirrel can be fairly tricky in the northern forests because there are four different types of squirrels in the north woods (grey, red, fox and flying). Red squirrels are smaller than all but flying squirrels and they are also active during the day. Flying squirrels are active at dawn, dusk and nighttime so they are easy to rule out. Red squirrels are smaller than both grey and fox squirrels so it is easy to distinguish them based on size. Red squirrels have a bright rusty colored fur as well and stand out in snowy woods.
Red squirrels are often considered a problem rodent. They have a tendency to nest and den into buildings and cars and chew. They are known for chewing wires, walls, wood, insulation and anything they can get their teeth into. They can devastate bird feeders by chewing any plastic or wood feeder to accommodate their access to sunflower seeds.
They are a cheeky little forest critter, often running larger fox and grey squirrels away from feeders as well. They also warn other birds and animals of predators in the area and amuse anyone watching with their antics. Their bright chattering will make any gloomy day a little brighter. While some consider them a nuisance, we are impressed with their bravado and we appreciate their flashes of red fur among the pines on a gloomy winter day.