Thanks to a herculean effort by UNE’s Neal Jandreau the squirrel telemetry map is now much more functional. Our old technique could not handle the amount of data we were adding and this new system is nearly unlimited. Lots more data to be added…. And one of our newly collared squirrels has slipped out of its collar in a tree cavity that is totally inaccessible. Arg!
There is zero acorn mast in coastal Biddeford this Fall. I first noticed the low mast last week. I asked the campus grounds crew and they noticed the same thing. Last year there were so many acorns on campus that students were slipping and falling down while walking between classes. I rode in this morning and carefully looked at 12 miles of largely oak-lined streets. I did not ride over a single stretch of pavement with acorns. Hickories do seem to have mast, but they are fairly low in abundance. I cannot imagine how caching animals are going to survive this winter….or even fatten up for that matter. Heavy snows last winter, although not terribly cold, were tough on squirrels. And that is with a huge mast year to prepare and cache.
Wow what a day. After some incredibly accurate bait advice from Steve Sullivan (use shell-on nuts!), our traps have sure been favorites of campus squirrels. In the mist and rain, today we put on three new collars, leading to a total of eight active collars to follow. Outstanding work by the most valiant squirrelologist crew east of the Mississippi River!
We are changing the data upload for the telemetry map on the website, and it should be all caught up in a few days.
The crew is busy finding collared squirrels and trying to trap. Trapping has been rather slow with the ground covered in acorns, but we are trying new (big) foods to lure. The results may be improving. Last week we caught and collared a health female–frequency 234. As promised in my last post, here is a telemetry map updated through the beginning of July. For this weeks reading the crew picked a home range study from VA campus published in 1974 (Doebel, JH and BS McGinnes. 1974. Home range and activity of a grey squirrel population. The Journal of Wildlife Management 38(4): 860-867.). This study found home ranges to be 0.50ha….way lower than what we are observing, although they only tracked from Nov-Mar.
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