Nature Notes

Mount Rainier National Park

Vol. II August 6, 1924 No. 8

Issued weekly during the summer season, monthly during the remainder of the year by the Nature Guide Service.
F. W. Schmoe
Park Naturalist
O. A. Tomlinson

by Park Ranger Charles Lundes

The Douglas Squirrel and the Chipmunk are the most common animals of the forest region of the Park.

The Douglas Squirrel is especially noticeable because of his sprightly manner and attractive appearance. He is a red squirrel or Chickaree (Sciurus douglasi) and is found in abundance about the camp grounds at Longmire where he responds readily to kind treatment. He will eat from the hand or search camp and pockets for nuts or other food. Almost every day one of these squirrels comes into the Government office at Longmire, going over desks and filing cases busily searching for nuts that have been hidden awaiting his search. As this article was being written one came into the office and ran up the back of one of the boys sitting at a typewriter as if he wished to find out what was being said about him.

It is in the deep woods where animals are scarce that the Douglas Squirrel is most noticeable. Suddenly you are startled and the deep quiet of the woods is disturbed by the Douglas making a wild scramble up a nearby tree. A moment later his bright eyes appear around the side of a tree trunk and you get a vigorous scolding for disturbing his quiet habitat. Each protesting bark is given with a convulsive jerk of the body. Then he suddenly makes another wild scurry farther up the tree always careful to keep on the opposite side of the tree from you. Curiosity soon gets the better of fright however and again he appears to call down imprecations upon you.

He has a number of calls beside his note of protest and his is the most musical voice of any of the squirrels. The call most often heard is a quoo, quoo, quoo, a very attractive call which is kept up at intervals for a considerable time. At other times he gives a bird-like call that is hard to describe.

The Douglas Squirrel is able to live all through our forests, as his food, the cones of conifers determines his distribution. The Douglas Fir in particular furnishes him with his winter store of food. In the fall he gathers great quantities of their cones, cutting them from the trees and storing many more than he can use.

Collectors of Douglas Fir cones which are in great demand for reforestation of this and other countries take advantage of the Douglas Squirrel's stores of seed and in the fall go through the woods searching out these hoards from which they get their supply of seed.

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