I had a very special visitor come to my bird feeder a few nights ago. A Flying Squirrel! These amazing creatures are supposedly fairly common here in the Eastern North American forests, it is just that they are so good at remaining unseen by humans, that we rarely if ever get to see them in the wild. So, I was thrilled to see this lovely visitor right at my kitchen window! The photo is not very good because the squirrel moves very fast and I did not want to use a flash for the photo because it might hurt its very sensitive eyes. We have owls here and this guy would have been temporarily blinded if I had used a flash, so, the compromise means we have blurry pics.
What a tail !!! Flying squirrels use their big, flattish tails much like the tail of a kite is used to stabilize the kite in flight. The squirrel is bigger than you might think... I estimated it is slightly bigger than a red squirrel. Here the Squirrel has backed right up to the glass which is why the tail looks a bit flattened to the right.
Here, the Squirrel is bumped right up against the glass with his rump. Here also you can see the large fold of skin which is between the front legs and the back ones. When the Squirrel launches itself, it does not actually fly, but glides from tree to tree or tree to ground. They often look like a handkerchief flying by if you happen to be lucky enough to see one at night. They don't seem to mind humans too much..at least the ones I have here are that way. I've been outside gardening in the late evening and have seen these guys leaping from tree to tree...coming quite close at times. Once, I found a nest of babies. It was in the hollow of a big maple tree right along my driveway. The hole was just low enough for me to peek inside regularly and watch their progress. Perhaps this guy was one from that nest, I'd like to think so!
It was such a thrill to see this spunky creature. Even though it was right by my kitchen sink, separated only by the glass and it could see every move I made, it did not seem to be too bothered by me...as long as there were seeds to eat!!