Sharing the treetops!

We squirrels tend to like the treetops to ourselves–well, birds sometimes come by or move in for spring and summer nesting. But around the suburbs, we rule the treetops!

Until, uh…

In late October, our squirrel correspondents in Stephens City, Virginia discovered that sometimes we squirrels have to share. This black bear cub apparently sought shelter in their tree after becoming separated from his mother bear.

The resident humans were all in a furry–maybe on behalf of squirrels?–and alerted some kind wildlife rescue folks that scoured the area in search of the mama.

They finally determined he must be orphaned and took the baby bear to a wildlife center to be cared for until he is old enough to be freed to live on his own. American black bears are found widely across North America, and prefer woodlands that produce nuts–acorns, beechnuts and pine seeds–in plentiful supply. They also eat wild cherries, wild grapes, and berries on the vegetable side of things that we squirrels also enjoy. Like squirrels, they don’t mind feasting on insects, but then their large size takes off in directions we don’t want to think about, because they eat fish and any other animals they can capture, like–shudder–small mammals!

If they can’t find enough food in the forests, or if they learn easy pickings can be found in the delacatesin of human homes, cars, garbage, livestock food, bird feeders, pet food, beehives…you get the idea…they will move on in and take that opportunity humans are providing.

As much as it pains Hickory and I to say it–

“No, don’t!” Hickory chitters.

–please keep these human sources of food secured if you suspect black bears are nearby. They are totally into the reward of food. What squir–animal isn’t? Humans have those tricky ways of locking garbage cans and electrical fences that we’ve heard are cheap ways to discourage a bear–especially if you see the damage these big guys can do to a home!

Of course, the real reason is to keep these guys around and living safely in the world we all now share.

A friend to The Squirrel Nutwork brought this story to our attention and gained permission to share the baby bear’s photographs with our readers. Thank you, Nancy!


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

That mighty big—and heavy!—foot belongs to a Black Bear. These fellows didn’t seem to blink at our flood, seeing it as an opportunity to step in and forage on what the humans had to leave behind.

Black Bear footprint

Great being with you Squirrel Nutwork readers again today!

Living with Wildlife–Everywhere!

Howdy!Coney the Pine Squirrel

Again, I’m Coney the Pine Squirrel, your Colorado Field Correspondent.

It’s Tuesday, one of the days Nutmeg tells me I can talk about anything I like on the blog. She did warn me not to get off topic. It’s got to be related to nature and squirrels.

That’s as easy here as it is in Virginia, even though my suburb doesn’t have sidewalks for me to run along and discover things like Nutmeg does.

Coney's Rocky Mountain neighborhood

Gravel is the surface of choice here. But that doesn’t matter to me, I stick to the trees, which there are plenty of, spruce and pine in this case.

Pine Squirrel in spruce tree with Pine behind

Those are so common around here, they get rather ho-hum, especially when it comes to eating. But once a year we have a real treat in my neighborhood.

Sour Cherries

Cherries. Every neighborhood should have cherry trees. We squirrels descend on this little grove. Unfortunately, another wild neighbor also discovered them this year, which might ruin things for us squirrels.

Broken Cherry tree

Do you readers know which wild animal it was? Here’s a closer look at clue below the broken limb.

Black Bear scat

A black bear tried to climb this tree. We local squirrels get by pretty well with the humans who have spread to living in our mountains, but the bears aren’t doing so hot. They’re big, eat a lot, and if it’s at a human dwelling, scare the residents.

You might think this is just a western problem, out where there is more wilderness land.

Nope. When I wrote to Nutmeg we’d had several bears in my neighborhood, she said some were spotted in her Washington D.C. suburbs, even getting right downtown into the city. Living with wildlife—even BIG wildlife is something every human needs to be aware of.

They might be just as cute as us squirrels, but some wild animals don’t belong in your backyard habitat. Learn how to keep the bears out of your garbage can, your cherry trees and your house on this information website by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.