A is for Acorns

Acorns!

Because we’re squirrels it can’t be for anything else.

Our favorites are from the White Oak, but all oak trees produce them in different shapes and sizes.

Willow Oak

Pin Oak

Chestnut Oak

Black Oak

We love acorns, and eat them year-round.

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Q is for Quercus

Q can be a difficult letter to find in nature. Unless you are a squirrel.

Q

Quercus is the genus name for the Oak tree family. We squirrels can’t imagine life without them. Every day of the year.

White Oak tree

White Oak

Black Oak

Black Oak

fallen Chestnut Oak leaves

Chestnut Oak leaves

Willow Oak acorns

Willow Oak acorns

Pin Oak Branches 2

Pin Oak

Eastern Gray Squirrel in Black Oak Tree

Eastern Gray Squirrel in Black Oak

White Oak

White Oak catkins

Oak trees

Oaks in spring.

Haven’t seen enough oaks? Here’s what we had to say about our favorite Quercus on Q day in 2014!

Enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday

It rained! For more than one day, too!

Raindrops in spider web

Spiderwebs cauth with raindrops

We at The Squirrel Nutwork are excited, but not nearly as excited as this chipmunk in our neighborhood.

Eastern Chipmunk

The rain knocked leaves and ripe acorns from this Pin Oak, making them easy gathering for a fellow mammal who isn’t as keen on climbing as we are.

Pin Oak after rain

But when it’s easy pickings, we’ll grab some of those acorns, too!

Eastern Gray Squirrel gathering acorns

And happy first of October! (Where has the year gone?)

Pin Oak Acorns

As we ran across a parking lot today, Hickory realized he’d forgotten an acorn.

“Yeah, we aren’t going to be chowing down on these, but even in the squashed ones you can tell what they are, right?”

“I don’t think most humans can see that acorn detail,” I told him.

“Of course they can. Pinstripes.”

“Get it? Pin-stripes. These are Pin Oak acorns, Quercus palustris. Isn’t that a great way to tell them from the others we’ve shown!”

I chittered out a laugh. “It is. But the covering doesn’t stay on the acorn long with either the cars or you around.”

Acorns, you gotta love ’em!

Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Hey, Hickory here, filling in for Nutmeg today. When she first moved here back in March, the trees hadn’t fully leafed out. The Pin Oak she chose isn’t doing so well and now many of the branches surrounding her leaf nest are dying back because the tree has Bacterial Leaf Scorch. See how thin the canopy is above her nest with many of the branches devoid of leaves.

The disease looks just like the name describes, the leaves look scorched, or brown. It’s apparently carried through the tree’s xylem system, which Nutmeg wrote about back on April 27th.

The US Forest Service has information on the disease here. It’s affecting a number of urban trees, including all of the Pin Oaks in our neighborhood. We’ve lost most of the 40 year old trees over the last eight or so years. It’s sad not only because we like to have some variety in our acorns, but also because our neighborhood isn’t as green as it used to be. Plant diseases affect wildlife, too.

So Nutmeg is out hunting a new nest site.  Keep your paws crossed she can find one in our neighborhood.