SUPER SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

I bought a new feeder to replace the one which broke. I knew I needed a different feeder anyway because that small feeder went completely empty every 24 hours. It held 2 pounds of feed and I was a bit baffled as to how that feeder was emptying out so much faster than the other two.

Up in the air I go flying again! Up in the air, and down.

We put up the new feeder last night. It’s huge and holds a full 10-pounds of seeds. You can put in two different kinds of feed because the feeder is divided into two sections. It’s rather heavy, so over the weekend Owen is going to install two new, braced wrought-iron brackets.

Right before bed last night, I turned on the light on the deck, just to see if the new feeder was still on its hook and hadn’t pulled the bracket off the post.

No one was more surprised than I to see lots of furry white animals leaving the feeders. There had to be a dozen of them at least. First, I thought they were squirrels because they didn’t look feathery. They looked fluffy. And very light gray. Almost white.

But then some of them seemed to fly away, so I said “Birds? Big white birds? At night? Birds don’t feed at night unless they are insect eaters like owls. But owls won’t go near the feeders. Not their kind of food — and none of the seed-eating birds will eat at night. As far as I knew, neither do squirrels.

I was right. And I was wrong. It turns out, they were squirrels. Flying squirrels. I had no idea we had flying squirrels in New England. Apparently, we have not one, but two different kinds of flying squirrels here and most people never see them and don’t know they exist in this region. I certainly had no idea.

Not only do we have them, but we have a lot of them, both the northern and southern types. Both these species are small. There are a few (who don’t live here) that are the size of normal gray squirrels, but these are about 6 to 7 inches long and very light grey to nearly white.

On a bird feeder

They live in big nests of up to 50 at a time, are entirely nocturnal, and love birdseed — especially (yummy!) sunflower seeds which comprise about 1/2 of the feed we put out. They aren’t picky and will eat any of the seeds, including nyjer.

We had a flock (are a bunch of flying squirrels a flock?) all over the feeders. Obviously, I didn’t get pictures. It was dark and I wasn’t expecting to see anything. It was a real shock. Especially when they flew off the feeders. We don’t have flying squirrels, do we?

Gliding on the waves of air

Nothing will keep them out of the feeders, either, because baffles people put up to keep out gray squirrels? The flyers just glide in under the baffles. They were all over my three feeders. Of course, as soon as I turned the light on, they fled. In any case, we don’t have baffles. What seems to have happened is that the gray squirrels eat early in the morning and the birds get the rest of the day … and the flying squirrels chow down at night.

Hot pink flying squirrel in ultra-violet light!

Flying squirrels have been around for longer than humans. Their big eyes make seeing at night easier and for some unknown reason, they also glow a fluorescent pink at night. No one knows why.

Categories: #animals, #gallery, Flying squirrels, Marilyn Armstrong

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38 replies

  1. Amazing photos! What a cute little bunch they are.


  2. Wow! Fascinating… Great photos too. 🙂


  3. These guys are adorable! I’m glad you saw them and got pictures!


  4. If you have flying squirrels, then maybe we do, too. Guess now I’ll have to get some night-vision goggles and a camera that shoots well in the dark, and just park myself out in the backyard all night. Not. Skunks also come out at night. I’m not taking any photos of them, either.


  5. Big wow! That’s a surprise. I’m not sure where I thought they lived (flying squirrels) but not there. I thought they lived more toward warmer climates tbh.


  6. You’re doomed…..


  7. I have heard of flying squirrels, Marilyn, but I don’t think I have seen any. Are you happy to have them feeding and eating a lot of your bird food? We used to have bird feeders but the pigeons scared away all the other birds and became a real problem so we stopped them. We put out fruit for the fruit eating birds.


    • No one sees them unless they (like me) are REALLY surprised when they turn on a porch light and watch them all runaway or glide into the woods. Apparently most of us don’t know we even have them. They are nocturnal and very shy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing. We never see them. They live in the woods, go out only in the dark of night, so we don’t even know they exist. Flying squirrels love fruit and sunflower seeds. And you’ll never know they have glided by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmmmm, I wouldn’t have guessed you had flying squirrels around those parts either. I knew they were nocturnal, but I figured they were confined to more exotic locations. Well, now you need to get your flash camera and get us some flying squirrel photos! If you do, I’d love to share one of them on my Saturday Squirrel feature…


    • I need one of those cameras that will shoot in the dark and attach it to the house. But the price (for a good one) is a little on the high end of my “no money” fund.I’m not sure the cheap ones will do the job and they only shoot in black and white at night. But I CAN get ‘something” (all Chinese I expect) for around $100. It has to be rain-proof, wind-proof, hot and cold-proof AND use a format I can work with on a laptop. I bookmarked everything and went to bed to think about it. I have a tripod, I have the batteries (assuming it will use rechargeables) and the chip. So all I need is the camera. I have learned from painful experience that buying really cheap usually costs you dear because the cheap ones don’t work very well, but the good ones run aroudn $300 – $500. On the positive side, they are motion activated, so I’d get ever flutter of every bird as well as flying squirrels, non-flying squirrels, raccoons, and everything else. Garry pointed out the Rocky was a flyer.

      I had NO idea we had apparently dozens of these adorable little guys back there. Most people don’t know we have them unless they have bird feeders — or they nest in your attic. They are strictly nocturnal and glow HOT PINK at night. Why?There are lots more of them in Asia, but all over Canada and New England there are both the southern and northern flyers. I’ll look them up and see if you have them too, You might, but probably have never seen them. Invisible flying squirrels. Go figure.


  9. Oh my GOODNESS! ❤ ❤ ❤ Those images are DARLING! I'm sorry you didn't catch any shots for yourself, but now that you know they are out there, maybe setting up a motion sensitive camera to capture some is the ticket. What beautiful animals!!!


    • I spent most of last night pricing motion-sensitive cameras that will shoot in full darkness and realized I can afford a cheap one, but not a good one. The good ones are in the $300-500 range (not a chance) and the cheap ones run less than $100, but don’t last long or work very well. So I bookmarked everything and set it aside for future thought. They really ARE adorable.


  10. The mystery of why the feeders were emptying out fast was finally solved. A cute critter!


  11. Your fame as an animal and avian restaurant is spreading. You probably have 5 stars in Squirrel Review.

    Liked by 1 person

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