A full day’s birding in the Adirondacks and along Lake Champlain on Tuesday with Will from The Nightjar was an absolute blast. We saw just over fifty species of bird and had a great time (and I added three birds to my New York State Big Year List). But this post isn’t about the birds; it’s about the American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), one of two squirrels in the genus Tamiasciurus, or pine squirrels (the other is the Pacific Coast’s Douglas Squirrel). The American Red Squirrel is an entirely different creature than the similarly-named Eurasian Red Squirrel.
The American Red Squirrels that chatter from every patch of evergreens in the Adirondacks are fearless little creatures and I love to watch their antics despite the fact that they are known to predate upon bird eggs and nestlings. The particular squirrel pictured in this post was encountered at the feeders at the Newcomb Visitor Interpretive Center in the tiny town of Newcomb near the high-peaks section of the Adirondacks.
Will and I had stopped there hoping to see Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders and instead found just squirrels and Black-capped Chickadees. Both species were amazingly unafraid. In fact, while crouched down to photograph a squirrel on the railing of the back porch at the interpretive center I got the distinct impression that the squirrel was considering a jump onto my head, an impression confirmed by Will who told me I was crazy to get so close.
But how could something so cute mean me harm?