After the last big snow in February, my husband, Doug, and I were outside cleaning the snow out of our driveway and topping off our bird and squirrel feeders. We both had to get to work, so we were doing this before 6 a.m. while it was still dark.

We live in the Elmhurst neighborhood. We have a squirrel feeder mounted on the side of a tree, one of those with a long screw to put an ear of corn on and a tray underneath in which we put sunflower seed.

I was only a couple of feet from the feeder when an animal made his presence known by scurrying out of the tray, where he had been eating. I was thoroughly startled. The animal was about the size of a chipmunk, so I figured it must have been a chipmunk.

I went inside to get my husband.

By the time we got back, the little guy was sitting on the edge of the tray eating again. This time we both got a good, close look. It appeared to be a very small squirrel, and was not afraid of humans.

I decided it must be a baby squirrel, although its tail looked a little odd to me. The tail was bushy like a squirrel, but somewhat flatter.

The baby squirrel solution just did not sit right with my husband, however. He kept saying that squirrels don’t have babies in February. So, he did what men do. He checked the internet and found that our little critter actually was a flying squirrel.

We learned that flying squirrels are nocturnal, which explains why we had never seen one before. They live in woodpecker holes, and we have plenty of woodpeckers. We also learned that they may eat flower buds in the spring, which explains another mystery I have been dealing with for years.

Flying squirrels do not actually fly, but have membranes between their front and back legs, which allow them to glide. They may have been gliding around our trees at night for years, and we just didn’t know it.

Several mornings since, I have gone out to check our feeder to get a photo of the little guy, but have had no luck. He has not returned when I was outside.

So, not only do we have black squirrels in Waynedale Park area, we have flying squirrels in the area too!

The Waynedale News Staff

Karen Walker

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